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Korea's data regulator imposes penalty to  Google and Meta of a total of $72M

For breaking the country's rule against the acquisition and use of personal data without user agreement, South Korea's data authority penalized Google and Meta a combined 100 billion won ($72 million).

According to a press statement from the Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) on September 14, fines for breaking the Personal Information Protection Act from 2019 to 21 will total 69.2 billion (U.S. $50 million) against Google and 30.8 billion (U.S. $22 million) against Meta.

The PIPC has never imposed fines this size before for privacy infractions, and they are the first sanctions for the gathering and use of behavioral data from online bespoke advertising platforms.

According to the PIPC, neither Google nor Meta provided users with a clear means to refuse enabling the businesses to use personal data when users used other websites or services outside the firms' own platforms.

Consumers were not informed by Google on how to opt out. According to a translated question-and-answer paper the PIPC provided, the opt-out setting was by default set to "agree," and if a user wished to alter it, he or she would have to locate the opt-out form on the "setting screen" beneath additional options.

The PIPC claimed that Meta made an effort to get consent by displaying a lengthy, difficult-to-understand form to prospective users.

According to the PIPC, Google and Meta both produced tailored advertising based on the personal information they had gathered about their clients.

Both businesses had to fix the claimed problems in addition to paying the fee, according to the PIPC.

Users' political opinions, health information, physical, physiological, and behavioral characteristics, as well as information that would make it simpler for someone to identify specific users within the data, were among the personal data the two social media companies gathered, according to the agency.

A French regulator penalized Google 50 million euros ($57 million) in 2019 for failing to give consumers clear and intelligible information about its data usage rules. In 2020, a French court affirmed that fine under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union.

In 2019, Germany's competition watchdog ruled that Meta (formerly Facebook) must "substantially restrict" how it gathers and combines user data without their express agreement.

A request for comment was not immediately answered by Google or Meta.



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