Google, Meta face record fines in South Korea over privacy violations

Google, Meta face record fines in South Korea over privacy violations

SEOUL: Southern Korea has fined Google and Meta more than US$71mil (RM321. 38mil) collectively designed for gathering users’ personal data without consent pertaining to tailored ads, government bodies said Wednesday, the particular country’s highest-ever information protection fines.

Investigations into the two US tech leaders found they had already been “collecting and analysing” data on their customers, and monitoring their own use of websites plus applications, the Personal Info Protection Commission stated.

The data had been used to “infer the particular users’ interests or even used for customised on-line advertisements”, it said, adding that nor Google nor Meta had clearly advised South Korean users of this practice or even obtained their permission in advance.

Consequently, Google was fined 69. 2bil won (RM224. 66mil) and Meta 30. 8bil won (RM100mil).

“It is the biggest fine for the breach of the Personal Information Defense Act, ” the commission said in a statement.

Regulators said the majority of the customers in South Korea – 82% intended for Google and 98% for Meta – had unknowingly allowed them to collect information on their online make use of.

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

A year ago, South Korea fined Google nearly US$180mil (RM814. 77mil) to get abusing its prominence in the mobile operating systems and app markets, saying it was hampering market competition.

Giant US tech companies are regularly rebuked for dominating markets by elbowing out rivals, with several governments globally seeking to rein them within.

The European Union offers slammed Google along with record antitrust penalties, and also gone right after Apple and Microsoft. – AFP