South Korea strengthens child data protection laws

Companies must get consent from parents or legal guardians to collect data from those under the age of 14 in South Korea.

South Korea has revised its data collection laws for children, requiring companies to have explicit consent from the parents or legal guardians of children aged under 14.

The Korea Communications Commission (KCC), the national regulator for broadcasting and communication services, said the revised laws will come into effect in 2020.

The previous laws stated that children under the age of 14 must get parental or legal guardian consent before handing over personal data to companies but did not explain how, making it difficult to enforce.

See also: The latest dark web cyber-criminal trend - Selling children's personal data

The new laws require companies collecting personal data, such as location, to ask children whether their parents agree to provide consent. Parental consent can be either via text, payment information, or authentication through smartphones.

The companies must then send the written agreement by the parents or legal guardians back to them via email, call, mail, or fax.

Companies who do not get parental consent before collecting data from children will receive fines of up to 3% of their revenue and administrative punishments.

The KCC said the new laws will create an environment for anybody to enjoy online communication services while keeping the privacy and data of children protected.

"Children are exposed to the internet more than ever thanks to the wide deployment of smartphones," said a KCC spokesperson. "We decided to strengthen the law as protecting their privacy is a matter of ethics, and it is the right thing to do."

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