Google’s New Privacy Policy Under South Korean Investigative Radar

February 13, 2012 0

Seoul — Troubles Again! South Korea’s communications regulator, Korea and Communications Commission (KCC), over the weekend reportedly said that it is reviewing global search engine giant Google’s upcoming privacy policy changes–that combine a user’s information across its services into a single trove–and hinted it will take action if these are found to violate local laws.

According to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported last Saturday that an unidentified source at the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said an investigation is underway to examine if the policy changes planned by Google, in any way conflicts with domestic private information protection and open use of Internet rules. Google’s new policy is expected to go into effect on March 1.

Google recently submitted an open letter to Congress to address concerns over its new policy, noting that the company wanted to make them “simpler and more understandable,” by condensing more than “60 product-specific privacy policies into [its] main Google one,” using 85% fewer words.

The move comes after the KCC received communication from Google Korea that the parent company’s intent to unify nearly all its information on users, so it can offer individually-tailored services, is a worldwide endeavor. The company added that South Korea cannot be left out of the global change and users who do not agree with the policy can opt out of using Google services, which include e-mail and Internet searches.

Google contends with reason that it wants to make more information to users when they are signed into Google services. But, the KCC cleared its stance that should the new policy changes violate local laws, the KCC suggested that it would take ‘appropriate action’, the report stated.

In the past, Google, which controls more than 80 percent of the world’s search engine market, kept information on users of different services separately.

Nevertheless, the latest news comes amid opposition from several governments and privacy advocates around the globe, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the U.S. Congress, and European Union, after Google made the announcement late January.