Thursday, August 4, 2011

Apple, Google in Violation of Korean Law

As reported in the Joongang Daily, South Korea’s telecommunications regulator announced yesterday that Apple and Google’s location tracking capabilities violate Korean laws, fining Apple Korea and ordering that both companies rectify the issues.The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) has been investigating since April, after two computer engineers argued that the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 4.0, keeps track of users’ locations as far back as June 2010, which was when the operating system was launched. That caused controversy worldwide.
While the Korean government was hardly alone in launching an investigation into location tracking issues, it is the first in the world to actually declare that Apple and Google violated laws and order punitive measures.
According to Location Information Law Article 15, when businesses seek to collect, utilize and offer people’s location data, they should get their consent. Furthermore, Location Information Law Article 16 dictates that businesses take protective technological measures to prevent the data from being exposed, falsified or damaged.
“We haven’t been tracking anyone,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said earlier this year. “The files they found on these phones were basically files we have built through anonymous, crowd-sourced information that we collect from the tens of millions of iPhones out there.”
Google also explained that “all location sharing on Android is an opt-in by the user.” When a user activates an Android phone, a screen appears saying Google will collect anonymous location data.

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