Kakao has denied media reports it is collecting data from users who downloaded the desktop version of its messaging app, KakaoTalk, which was launched in South Korea last week.
IT sources told The Korea Herald on Tuesday the beta version of the Kakao PC platform, which was released on June 20, collects media access control (MAC) addresses of users' devices. MAC is an alpha-numeric address assigned to each PC connected to the Internet.
Critics also told the South Korean publication collecting MAC data could lead to a potential leak of the users' location information, and other activities. They added that Kakao should have notified its users about such data collection in advance.
However, the compamy denied claims it was collecting users' MAC addresses or neglecting to inform users of the collection of information.
"For KakaoTalk PC, we generate a hash code--an undecodable unique identification code--for individual computer devices based on various hardware information in order to distinguish individual devices, but the MAC address is not part of the information that is collected in this process," a company spokesperson said.
"The only information that we extract from the LAN card is the device model information, which is used to identify whether a user was using a wired or wireless network. This information is only collected when an error has occurred in KakaoTalk PC, and when the user decides to send an error report to Kakao," the spokesperson added.