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Thursday, March 23, 2023

South Korean authorities have issued record penalties against Google and Meta for allegedly violating users’ privacy

South Korean regulators announced on Wednesday that Google and Meta have been fined a total of more than US$71 million for illegally collecting the personal information of users without first obtaining their consent in order to create targeted advertisements. This represents the highest data protection fines ever levied in the country.

According to the Personal Information Protection Commission, investigations of the two largest tech companies in the United States discovered that both companies had been “gathering and analysing” data on its customers, as well as monitoring their usage of websites and apps.

It was said that the data was used to “infer the interests of the users or utilised for customised web adverts.” Additionally, it was stated that neither Google nor Meta had adequately informed South Korean consumers of this practise or gained their agreement in advance.

As a direct consequence of this, Google was given a 69.2 billion won (about $49.7 million) and Meta was given a 30.8 billion won punishment.

According to a statement released by the commission, “it is the greatest fine for the infringement of the Personal Information Protection Act.”

The bulk of customers in South Korea, or 98 percent for Google and 82 percent for Meta, are claimed to have unintentionally let these companies to gather data on their internet activities, according to the regulators.

According to the statement, “It is fair to say that both the potential and the danger of infringing upon the rights of the users are significant.”

South Korea levied a punishment of about US$180 million on Google in December of 2017, accusing the company of abusing its dominant position in the market for mobile operating systems and app marketplaces, which was said to be hindering market competition.

Huge American technology corporations are often criticised for dominating their respective markets by squeezing out their competitors, and many governments throughout the world are working to reign them in.

Apple and Microsoft have also been targeted by the European Union for antitrust violations, and the EU has issued record-breaking fines against Google.

David Faber
I am a Business Journalist of The National Era
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