South Korea fines Google and Meta billions of dollars for privacy violations

South Korea fines Google and Meta billions of dollars for privacy violations

By Su Hyang Choi and Joyce Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea has imposed tens of millions of dollars in fines on Alphabet’s Google and Meta (NASDAQ) platform for violating privacy law, authorities said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the Personal Information Protection Commission said it has fined Google 69.2 billion won ($50 million) and Meta 30.8 billion won ($22 million).

The Privacy Commission said the companies did not clearly inform service users and obtain their prior consent when collecting and analyzing behavioral information to infer their interests or use it in personalized advertising.

A Google spokesperson said: “We do not agree with the findings of the Environmental Protection Committee, and will review the written decision in full once it is shared with us.”

“We have always demonstrated our commitment to making constant updates that give users control and transparency, while providing the most useful products possible. We remain committed to engaging with PIPC to protect the privacy of South Korean users.”

A Meta spokesperson said, โ€œWhile we respect the commissionโ€™s decision, we are confident that we are working with our clients in a manner that is compliant with law and meets the processes required by local regulations. As such, we do not agree with the commissionโ€™s decision, and will be open to all options including seeking a court ruling.

Also Wednesday, Google suffered its second setback in Europe in less than a year as the Supreme Court agreed with EU antitrust bodies that it had abused its dominance. Google lost its appeal with a fine of 2.42 billion euros ($2.42 billion) last year, the first of three cases, although the European Court of Justice reduced it slightly.

(1 dollar = 1390.3800 won)

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