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South Korean Watchdog Fines Google & Meta Over Data

 |  September 14, 2022

South Korea has fined Google and Meta Platforms more than US$71 million collectively for gathering users’ personal information without consent for tailored ads, regulators said yesterday, the country’s highest-ever data protection fines.

Investigations into the two US technology giants found they had been “collecting and analyzing” data on their users, and monitoring their use of Web sites and applications, the South Korean Personal Information Protection Commission said.

The data was used to “infer the users’ interests or used for customized online advertisements,” the commission said.

Neither Google nor Meta had clearly informed South Korean users of this practice or obtained their consent in advance, the commission added.

As a result, Google was fined 69.2 billion won (US$49.7 million) and Meta 30.8 billion won.

“It is the largest fine for the violation of the Personal Information Protection Act,” the commission said in a statement.

Regulators said that the majority of the users in South Korea — 82 percent for Google and 98 percent for Meta — had unknowingly allowed them to collect data on their online use.

“It can be said that the possibility and the risk of infringement of the rights of the users are high,” the statement said.

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