Local activists file suit against Google

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Local activists file suit against Google

Six Korean human rights activists filed a lawsuit against Google and Google Korea last Wednesday at the Seoul Central District Court requesting the disclosure of personal information provision records, claiming that Google provided private information to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ) said yesterday.

The six activists from the CCEJ, Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet, Citizens’ Action Network and Amnesty International Korea filed a petition based on suspicions raised by former NSA employee Edward Snowden that private information of Google users has been gathered and given to the NSA.

The civic groups said that according to Snowden, Google cooperated with the NSA in gathering personal information through its Prism program.

“Due to his witness, suspicion has been raised that even private information of users who are not American citizens living in other countries and who use Google services could have been provided to third parties such as the NSA and to some considerable extent,” the CCEJ said in a statement.

In particular, the civic groups said, there are possibilities that the Gmail records of plaintiffs were provided to a third party, which is a direct violation of a plaintiffs’ rights to control their own personal information.

The statement added that users have the right to ask service providers for access to records of their personal information, which could have been leaked to a third party.

“Also, Google Korea, a subsidiary company of Google, is a Korean company that should observe the laws of Korea,” said the civic group.

“Taking into account the characteristics of its services that utilize customers’ personal information and the fact that it runs the department of personal information separately, it is hard to say that Google Korea has nothing to do with taking customers’ personal information.

“Therefore, it is a violation of the Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection that Google and Google Korea have not taken any action after requests that they disclose the status and records of personal information.”

BY kim jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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