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South Korea’s information watchdog fines Facebook for sharing data without consent: Reports

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South Korea’s information watchdog on Wednesday fined Facebook Inc 6.7 billion won ($6.1 million) for sharing the personal information of South Koreans, without their consent, to other companies, reported Reuters and Yonhap News Agency

The Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) said Facebook had shared the personal data of 3.3 million users, out of its 18 million users in the country, violating its personal information law. Specifically, the violation at play here is when users logged into third-party services using their Facebook email addresses, the data of their friends was shared with such parties without consent. This data included users’ names, their addresses, dates of birth, work experience, hometowns and relationship statuses.

The Commission added that the exact amount of information is unclear as Facebook did not provide relevant information.  It said that a significant amount of data could have been shared since the data must have been shared with 10,000 companies at most. The Commission will recommend that Facebook Ireland Ltd, which was running Facebook operations in South Korea from May 2012 to June 2018, be prosecuted for criminal violations. 

It added that Facebook was uncooperative in its investigation as it submitted incomplete or false documents. For this, the Commission levied  a penalty of 66 million won on the company for false documentation. In 2018, the Korea Communications Commission, South Korea’s telecommunications regulator, started investigations into Facebook before handing it off to the commission. PIPC had launched its own probe in August. 

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