According to the watchdog, Google and Meta did not obtain legitimate consent when collecting information from users who visit their websites and use other websites and apps for customised advertisements.
According to the press release, Google did not clearly inform users of the collection and use of other companies’ behavioural information when they signed up for its service and set the default choice to “agree” while concealing additional options available via the setting screen. Meta was also found to have broken personal data protection laws.
The Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) imposed fines of 69.2 billion KRW ($50 million) on Google and 30.8 billion KRW ($22 million) on Meta for the violations.
According to the watchdog, this is the country’s largest penalty for violating personal information protection laws and the first sanction pertaining to the collection and use of behavioural information on online customised advertising platforms.
“While we respect the PIPC’s decision,” a Meta spokesperson told reporter, “we are confident that we work with our clients in a legally compliant manner that meets the processes required by local regulations.” “As a result, we disagree with the commission’s decision and will consider all options, including seeking a court ruling.”
In recent years, international watchdogs have fined Google and Meta for failing to comply with data protection regulations. The French data protection regulator, the CNIL, issued its first General Data Protection Regulation fine of $57 million in 2019 for violations of transparency and consent. While Facebook-owned WhatsApp was fined $267 million last year for violating GDPR’s transparency principle, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office has also ordered a limit on Meta’s data collection on users from third-party websites without their consent. This order is still being challenged in court in the EU.
“We disagree with the PIPC’s findings and will review the full written decision once it is shared with us,” said a Google spokesperson. “We’ve always demonstrated our commitment to providing users with control and transparency while providing the most useful products possible.” We remain committed to working with the PIPC to protect South Korean users’ privacy.”