South Korea Hits Meta And Google With Mega $71 Million Fine For Violating Privacy Law

South Korea is not happy with tech giants Meta and Google after observing how both firms violated the country’s privacy law.

The mega fine slapped by the Asian nation comprises nearly $72 million, as confirmed by authorities on Wednesday.

The watchdog also specified in a recent statement how both companies failed to get legitimate consent along the way while they were collecting information from different users that visited the website often. The same goes for apps for the purpose of personalized ads.

Google was accused of failing to clearly outline that it would collect and use behavioral information when users signed up for the app’s service. Also, setting the default option to the category of ‘agree’ was never stated. Interestingly, all other options were covered up using a setting screen.

This information was recently unveiled in a press release involving South Korean officials who shed light on the matter. The same goes for Meta, who failed to lay out details related to consent as the firm continued to gather more data for the benefit of its customized ads whenever any user had signed up. These details were brought to light by the PIPC.

The latter ordered the tech giants to correct their mistakes and also set out huge fines. Google’s fine was more than 69 billion KRW, while Meta’s was 30 billion KRW.

The news is definitely major and is going viral as the country’s biggest violation of its protection laws. The watchdog recently revealed that these are designed to better protect users’ personal information.

Meta’s spokesperson recently issued a statement on the matter. According to them, the PIPC’s decision was one that they respected. The firm hopes to better its errors and work with clients more compliantly, following all regulations set out. But they aren’t exactly happy with the decision and feel it’s not correct.

Therefore, they might be going to court for an appeal, as explained by the spokesperson while speaking to Tech Crunch recently.

For a while now, we’ve witnessed so many overseas watchdogs issue fines to big tech leaders of the industry. The reason is often the same. It’s related to not complying with laws set out related to data protection.

Last year, we saw WhatsApp gaining a mega fine worth $267 million after it was accused of breaching the protocols set out by the GDPR regarding transparency. And then, Germany’s Cartel Office came forward with another order related to restricting data gathered by Meta from webpages belonging to third parties without obtaining any consent. At the moment, that case’s verdict is yet to be decided and is still being dealt with legally.

Meanwhile, Google also issued a statement regarding South Korea's fine. They have disagreed with the findings by the PIPC and will soon be taking a closer look at the complete decision released in written form.

Google says they’ve showcased how users are in control, time after time while keeping its workings transparent. Hence, they’ll be committed to working with the PIPC to ensure South Koreans get the protection they deserve.


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