Uber files application with the KCC

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Uber files application with the KCC

Taxi-hailing app operator Uber Technologies’ Korean office announced on Sunday it filed an application with top telecom watchdog Korea Communications Commission (KCC) to register as a location-based service operator.

The KCC filed criminal charges against Uber Korea at the end of January for violating the act on protection and utilization of location information. Uber at the time said it was in the middle of preparing for registration and the filing was made recently.

Location-based service refers to a software application for a mobile device that requires access to where the mobile device is located. The service can be used by consumers to find information such as the location of ATMs or companies to deliver marketing information to customers in a specific geographical area.

Any enterprise offering a location-based service without registering with the top telecom authority is subject to a maximum prison term of three years and fine of up to 30 million won ($27,305).

The registration application marks the latest in a series of moves by the American start-up to resolve conflicts with Korean authorities.

“We eagerly anticipate a positive outcome,” said Stephen Man, Uber’s legal counsel for Asia.

Uber Korea further noted the decision was made in consultation with Seoul City and as part of a cooperation proposal to the taxi industry in Seoul.

On Friday, Uber Korea said it would suspend its popular Uber X platform, which enabled any individual to operate an insured personal vehicle at base charge of 2,500 won, 500 won cheaper than ordinary taxis. Now, the Uber X option is gone from the Uber app. Its limousine service, or Uber Black, also was restricted to serving foreigners, people aged 65 or older, the handicapped and public workers.

Uber X has hardly been used since Feb. 27, when the company said it would operate the service free of charge.

That means Uber’s operations are almost entirely halted until the Seoul Metropolitan Government comes up with a forward-looking policy with the San Francisco-based company. The Seoul government designated all Uber services illegal on Jan. 2 and offered a reward of up to 1 million won per case to anyone who reported Uber drivers by sending in photos of them.

Uber headquarters in early February dispatched David Plouffe, senior vice president of policy and strategy and former adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama, to Seoul to propose that all Uber divers be registered by the government. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport immediately rejected the proposal.
BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]
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