Google, Meta fined $71.8M for violating privacy law in South Korea

Google, Meta fined $71.8M for violating privacy law in South Korea
Image Credits: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

South Korean authorities fined Google and Meta a combined $71.8M for violating the country’s privacy law, coming down to a $50M fine on Google and a $22M fine on Meta.

This is not only the country’s first sanction, but the largest, of its kind.

In the statement, authorities explain that Google and Meta did not receive “legitimate consent” when collecting user information through website and app visits, or customized advertisements. 

They added that they also didn’t clearly inform users who signed up for its service of other companies’ behavioral information, setting the default choice to “agree” and covering up other options available.

In mid August, Google was similarly fined $40 million+ in Australia for this practice, which is known as a nested dark pattern.

Surprisingly, both Google and Meta disagree with the accusations despite earlier fines.

“We disagree with the PIPC’s findings and will be reviewing the full written decision once it’s shared with us,” a spokesperson at Google said. “We’ve always demonstrated our commitment to making ongoing updates that give users control and transparency while providing the most helpful products possible. We remain committed to engaging with the PIPC to protect the privacy of South Korean users.”

In a statement to TechCrunch, a Meta spokesperson similarly said: “While we respect the PIPC’s decision, we are confident that we work with our clients in a legally compliant way that meets the processes required by local regulations. As such, we do not agree with the commission’s decision and will be open to all options, including seeking a ruling from the court.”

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