Facebook Breaches South Korean Privacy Laws

Facebook doesn’t comply with South Korea’s laws on privacy, a regulator in that nation said today.

The social network needs to make more of an effort to obtain consent from users when requesting personal information, the Korea Communications Commission said.

The KCC filed a formal complaint to Facebook and gave it 30 days to reply, according to the IDG News Service.

IDG said the KCC criticized Facebook’s privacy policy and how the company handles personal information, including sharing that data with third parties.

South Korea appears to have stricter regulations on privacy than the U.S. does. Law requires user consent before said party’s personal information may be collected by a service provider. Apparently, this appears in Article 22 of the country’s Act on Promotion of Information and Communication Network Utilization and Information Protection.

Facebook is by no means the most popular social network in South Korea, with only 2.3 million users there. Cyworld ranks first, with 18 million users. So has Facebook’s privacy stance slowed adoption in South Korea, and would any effort to comply with the nation’s regulations help turn things around over there?

It’s possible that other barriers to entry may have more of an effect on Facebook’s lesser popularity in South Korea. The social network appears to lag in nations that have non-Roman alphabets. Whether better translation of the content would improve things remains to be seen.

It does seem to be rather interesting timing for the KCC to complain about privacy on Facebook, given that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has recently asked the public for comment on whether to create policy regulating the matter.

What do you make of South Korea’s assertion that Facebook voilates the country’s privacy laws?

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