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Korea's Communication Watchdog Fines Google $198,000

10. News
On January twentieth we reported that the Korea Communications Commission suspected Google of having collected personal information without authorization in the process of preparing the 'Street View' service and scheduled an administrative measure against Google. The Korean press now reports that Google was fined $US198,000.


It's being reported that South Korea's communications watchdog has decided to impose a 212 million won ($US198, 500) fine on Google Inc. for illegally collecting personal data through street imaging technology.


The Korea Communications Commission said although the fines are 10 percent higher than the legal ceiling, such a heavy penalty was necessary due to the country's rising concerns over information privacy. The current South Korean law stipulates fines amounting to 1 percent of revenue for companies that gather personal data unlawfully.


Local investigators said Google's camera-equipped vehicles used for its "Street View" service not only shot 360-degree images of streets in major cities, but also collected serial numbers of wireless devices on Wi-Fi networks as well as mobile text messages exchanged between the networks' users. They said Google has collected some 604,000 items of personal information, which includes e-mail addresses and credit card numbers. The commission said the U.S. internet giant has to delete all data collected illegally and post the KCC's decision on its Web page.


In April 2013, a German privacy regulator fined Google €145,000 ($US 197,301) on Monday for the systematic, illegal collection of personal data while it was creating the Street View mapping service, and called on European lawmakers to significantly raise fines for violations of data protection laws.


In the big picture however, fines like these are of no consequence to Google who probably makes $197,000 every nano second of every day. Clearly the fines in these two cases are outdated and toothless. In contrast, last November Google was fined $17 million on charges of having used Apple's Safari browser to collect personal information in 37 state governments in the United States.


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