South Korea is the latest to find Facebook’s privacy unsatisfactory, and the Korea Communications Commission is demanding the social network overhaul its settings.
“Facebook violates the regulations on protection of privacy in information networks,” a KCC spokesman said. He also reported that Facebook will be given 30 days to respond. Apparently, the site is in breach of Korean data privacy laws by failing to explicitly request user consent before it pulls personal data.
The KCC is citing Article 22 of South Korea’s Act on Promotion of Information and Communication Network Utilisation and Information Protection, which aims to protect users’ personal data as it applies to information and communication services. It clearly states “If an information and communications service provider intends to gather user personal information, they shall obtain user consent.”
Facebook is extremely popular in South Korea, with nearly two-thirds of the population holding accounts. The company is also attempting to partner with big name businesses in the country (think Samsung and LG) and improve its overall presence in Asia. The Korea Herald recently reported that the social network would be, “‘keeping its eye on the South Korea market.'”
And if the company wants to effectively take root in the region, it might have to alter its current privacy policies. As it stands, Facebook does include an extensive Statement of Rights and Responsibilities that gives the site permission to access user information. But of course, many skip the fine print and it seems like what South Korea simply wants is for these statements to be more overtly presented to its users.
If that were the only issue, Facebook and the KCC could potentially come to a quick agreement, but the country is also taking issue with how the site handles personal information, especially when it comes to third-party sharing. Given that this is a reoccurring problem for Facebook and one generally alleviated by suspending violators after the fact, the site would be unable to promise the elimination of future issues.
We’ll know in 30 days how Facebook plans to meet the KCC’s requirements.
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