South Korea fines Google, Meta over privacy violations

Yang Cheongsam, an investigation and coordination bureau director-general of the Personal Information Protection Commission speaks at the Government Complex in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. South Korea’s privacy watchdog has fined Google and Meta a combined 100 billion won ($72 million) for tracking consumers’ online behavior without their consent and using their data for targeted advertisements. Credit: Shin Hyun-woo/Yonhap via AP

South Korea’s privacy watchdog has fined Google and Meta a combined 100 billion won ($72 million) for tracking consumers’ online behavior without their consent and using their data for targeted advertisements.

South Korea’s Personal Information and Protection Commission said it fined Google 69.2 billion won ($50 million) and Meta 30.8 billion won ($22 million) after a meeting where officials agreed that the companies’ business practices might cause serious” privacy infringements.

The fines were the biggest ever penalties imposed by South Korea for privacy law violations, the commission said in a press release.

According to the commission, Google and Meta, which operates Facebook and Instagram, didn’t clearly inform users or obtain their consent as they collected and analyzed information about their online usage patterns and used the data they gathered to create individually customized advertisements.

The commission ordered the companies to provide an “easy and clear” process of consent giving people more control over whether to share information about what they do online.

Google and Meta didn’t immediately comment on the fines. The companies can appeal the fines through administrative lawsuits, which must be filed within 90 days after they formally receive the commission’s decision.


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