S. Korea probes Google's privacy policy changes

Country's communications regulator looking into Web giant's proposed changes and, if found to violate local laws, might take "appropriate action", report states.

South Korea's communications regulator said it is reviewing Google's upcoming privacy policy changes, and hinted it will take action if these are found to violate local laws.

The Yonhap News Agency reported last Saturday that an unidentified source at the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said an investigation is underway to see if the policy changes planned by Google go against domestic laws on private information protection and open use of the Internet.

The KCC had received word from Google's Korea office that its parent company's plans to combine nearly all its information on users is a worldwide initiative and South Korea will not be excluded from these global changes, it added.

Should the new policy changes violate local laws, the KCC hinted that it would take "appropriate action", the report stated.

Google's changes, scheduled to take effect on Mar. 1, are intended to combine all user data across its various products and services, and will also roll its multiple privacy policies into one. Previously, Google kept users' information on different services separately. Users are not able to opt out of these changes, short of removing their accounts with Google, according to an earlier report.

The news comes amid opposition from governments and privacy advocates, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the U.S. Congress, and European Union, after Google made the announcement late January.