중앙데일리

Facebook agrees to increase privacy protection

Jan 21,2011
The Korea Communications Commission, the nation’s telecommunications regulator, said yesterday that Facebook, the world’s largest social networking service (SNS), will introduce new features to strengthen the protection of personal data in response to complaints.

The KCC notified Facebook last month that its privacy rules failed to meet domestic Internet laws and asked the company to make necessary revisions.

The regulator claimed that the company had fallen short in notifying users about the possibility of collecting their personal data and in seeking their consent on the sharing of information when they subscribed.

The KCC said that Facebook this week agreed to amend privacy rules covering its Korean service before the end of March to meet the country’s Internet laws.

The U.S. company said that it will notify and secure agreements from users on the possible collection of their personal data when they register: notify them if a third party uses the information and for what purpose; and make its privacy policy available in the Korean language.

“We believe it is positive that Facebook is actively cooperating with us to protect the privacy of Korean users,” said Kim Gwang-su, the head of the KCC’s private information protection division. “We will continue to work for the improvement of private information protection involving social networking services and encourage foreign social networking services to meet local Internet requirements.”

Amid the recent boom of social media, the KCC has expressed concerns about privacy issues. Earlier this week, the regulator cited a study conducted by the Korea Information and Security Agency highlighting the dangers of overexposure to social networking services and announced a set of tips on how to protect private information.

According to the KCC, 65.7 percent of Koreans use social media sites. And foreign social media are gaining traction in Korea. Last month, more than 2.3 million people in Korea were estimated to have opened a Facebook account, according to Socialbakers, which compiles data on the social networking service. The KCC provided a higher estimate of 3.46 million.

Facebook has made headlines in the U.S. numerous times for allegedly giving short shrift to user privacy. In October, Facebook admitted that some of the most popular applications made for the social network site had been sending personal information of users to dozens of advertisers and Internet-monitoring companies.

But Korea is seen as an important market for Facebook, which reportedly has taken steps to open a Korean branch.

Javier Olivan, head of international operations at Facebook, said in July that the “Korean market is growing fast and we are keeping our eye on it.”


By Kim Hyung-eun [hkim@joongang.co.kr]



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