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Google and Meta were fined $72M for collecting personal data without authorization.
According to officials, the Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) fined Google and Meta Platforms a total of 100 billion won (USD71.9 million) on Wednesday for gathering users’ data without their knowledge and utilizing it for tailored online advertising and other uses.
In a general meeting, the commission authorized the commission’s first sanctions for collecting data for tailored advertisements: 69.2 billion won for Google and 30.8 billion won for Meta Platforms.
The alleged personal information protection law violations resulted in the biggest penalty ever levied.
The PIPC also mandated that Google and Meta obtain the clear and informed agreement of their users before collecting or using user activity data on websites or applications other than their own.
The watchdog claimed that its investigation proved Google and Meta did not explicitly inform consumers when they collected or processed such data to estimate their particular interests and use that information to create targeted advertisements, nor did they obtain their prior approval.
According to the watchdog, Google has had South Korean users consent to such data collecting by default settings since at least 2016, while Meta, the operator of Facebook, has not informed or obtained consent from users since 2018.
The PIPC claimed that as a result, more than 82 percent of Google users and more than 98 percent of Meta users in South Korea had their user behavior data exposed to their illicit data gathering on platforms other than Google and Meta.
Google and Meta both expressed their disappointment with the regulatory choice.
Shortly after the PIPC’s announcement, Google released a statement expressing “deep sorrow” and promising to keep in touch with the commission to discuss how to protect Korean users’ privacy best.
A Meta representative stated that the company cannot concur with the PIPC judgment and would consider all options, including a legal challenge. The official added that the company has complied with the law.
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