South Korea fines Google $196K for illegal data gathering

Summary:The penalty is the first of its kind slapped on a global company in South Korea for violating private info protection laws, when it was building its Street View service.

Google has been fined 210 million won (US$196,000) by South Korean regulators for collecting personal data when it was setting up its Street View service, according to Korea Herald.

The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) also ordered the Internet giant to delete all personal information it had gathered without consent and post a progress update on its site.

In order to build up the Street View database, Google had sent out vehicles equipped with cameras and computers into major cities between 2009 and 2010. However, they not only collected 360 degree views of the streets but also picked up plenty of personal data along the way such as Internet IDs, passwords, network addresses, text messages, and credit card numbers, according to KCC.

"The latest penalty is the first of its kind imposed on a global company that violated the private information protection laws," KCC chairman Lee Kyung-jae, told Korea Herald. He added the commission would punish those who collect information of the Korean public without exception.

Google has already been fined in Europe and the United States for similar infringements. Last year, it was fined €145,000 (US$189,000) in Germany , €100,000 (US$136,000) in France while it settled in the U.S. for US$7 million.

Topics: Privacy, Google, Korea, Legal


Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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