The Google, Meta, and South Korea Battle

    Google Meta

    South Korea has handed Google a $49 million fine for privacy violations. This is yet another in a series of penalties which includes $4.12 billion fine for antitrust violations in Europe and a potential $25 billion class action lawsuit coming from the United kingdom and the European Union.

    The South Korean privacy watchdog recently issued a combined fine of â‚©100 billion which amounts to $71.79 million on Google and Meta for overstepping on user’s privacy and violating South Korea’s privacy law.

    The South Korean regulator; Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) handed down fines to bother Google and Meta. While Alphabet, a subsidiary of Google received a $49.68 million fine, Meta received a fine of $22.11 million. This is the highest fine so far imposed on violators by the PIPC.

    The allegation against Google and Meta is that the duo failed to obtain legal consent from visitors to their platform while aggregating online behavioural data. The allegation further points out that these visitors were not adequately informed about this data collection.

    The PIPC in part of its submission argued that Google’s default option for data collection was set as agree as users sign up for the platform’s online services. In the PIPC statement on subscription; Google did not clearly notify the fact that third-party behavioural information was collected and used, and used a method such as setting the default value to ‘Agree’ while hiding the setting screen (‘More options’).”

    The regulators further argued that the form shared by Meta was difficult to understand. The company dis not also consider legality as regards the country’s privacy disposition to serve users’ customized advertisements.

    The submissions of the PIPC on this matter is that users struggle to access the information collected by online service providers whether websites or applications. For such users their anonymity also gets exposed during third party behavioural data collection. This portends a certain level of danger because sensitive information such as their health, physical, physiological and behavioural peculiarities, political views and other such information are released and this may make them targets.

    France’s Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL) and Germany’s Bundeskartellamt (FCO) highlighted so many past violations by Google and Meta which the PIPC cited.

    Google and Meta have denied these privacy violation allegations. The tech giants now have 90 days to deny the PIPC’s allegations by filing an administrative lawsuit to appeal the penalties.

    Meta has insisted that their relationship with their clients are legally compliant and such that adheres to local regulation requirements. According to Meta’s spokesperson: “While we respect the commission’s decision, we do not agree with the commission’s decision, and will be open to all options, including seeking a ruling from the Court,”

    Google has also disagreed with the findings of the PIPC and has indicated its intention to review the full written decision shared by the regulators. The company emphasized its resolve to continue demonstrating its commitment to prevailing updates on control and transparency issues for its users while rendering its services. According to a spokesperson of Google: “we remain committed to engaging with the PIPC to protect the privacy of South Korean users.”

    This fine imposed on Google by PIPC is the third in a Series of legal impositions to its parent Alphabet recently. Not so long ago, the General Court of the European Union upheld a 2018 antitrust ruling against the platform over claims that it imposed unlawful restrictions on Android mobile devices manufacturers and bu so doing put competition at grievous disadvantage.

    Googles penalties will now include $4.12 billion in Europe, a market where it controls an impressive 67.25% mobile market share. The fine was reduced from an initial $4.33 billion. Google registers its disappointment with the decision. “We are disappointed that the Court did not annul the decision in full. Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world,”. This is according to the statement the company released to CNBC.

    Google has also been mentioned in a situation involving U.K and E.U Publishers as the players in this sectors are claiming that the company abused its market position in the ad-tech space. E.U publishers will be represented in this case by Geradin Partners, a Dutch law firm. According to a claim from Humphries Kerstetter one of the law firms hired from U.K for the case, victims of Google’s a use have collectively lost £7 billion which is the equivalent of $8.08 billion. Through this fresh class-action lawsuit, the litigants will attempt to collectively claim $24.988 billion.

    As originally reported in (