South Korea fines Google and Meta $72 million for violating country’s privacy laws

The PIPC or Personal Information Protection Commission of South Korea, a branch of the government responsible for protecting personal information and privacy laws in the country, issued a number of fines and penalties on Google and Meta about violations of the country’s privacy laws.

South Korea fines Google and Meta $72 million for violating country's privacy laws

The fines total KRW 100 billion, or about $72 million. Google was the hardest hit, fined KRW 69.2 billion, or about $50 million, while Meta was fined KRW 30.8 billion, or about $22 million. Both companies have been accused of failing to obtain lawful consent before collecting user information through third-party websites and apps.

South Korea’s PIPC found that Google failed to inform users that it would collect and use a user’s behavioral data. Google has also been chastised for setting the default choice to “agree” while making it difficult for users to opt out of data collection, by hiding other options behind a “more options” button. The PIPC observed that this contrasted with what European users see.

Meta, formerly known as Facebook on the other hand, began asking South Korean users to accept its updated privacy policy by August 8, or they would lose access to their Facebook and Instagram accounts on August 9. It was the action that led South Korea’s PIPC to take a close look at Meta. operations in the country.

Meta and Google, meanwhile, said they would take steps to challenge the PIPC’s decision. In a statement to select media, Meta said, “While we respect the PIPC’s decision, we are confident that we are working with our clients in a manner that is compliant with the law and complies with processes required by local regulations. As such, we do not agree with the commission’s decision and will be open to all options, including seeking a court ruling.

A Google spokesperson told . that he disagreed with the findings of the Korean PIPC and that he would review the written decision once he had a copy. The spokesperson also added, “We have always demonstrated our commitment to continuous updates that give users control and transparency while providing the most useful products possible. We remain committed to working with the PIPC to protect the privacy of South Korean users.

Besides paying the fine, Google and Meta were also ordered to rework their consent dialogues and word them in a way that complies with South Korean privacy laws.

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