South Korea Issues Mobile App Privacy Guide

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By James Lim

Aug. 10 — In October, South Korea will begin to enforce the mobile application industry's compliance with a new privacy guide, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said Aug. 7.

The guide, which took effect Aug. 6, is an add-on to the Act on the Promotion of Information Communication Network Utilization and the Protection of Information, which provides criminal fines of up to 3 percent of revenue, the KCC said in a statement.

The law prohibits the collection of personal information such as location information and contact information through smartphone apps without user consent. The guide provides practical details on what smartphone operating system and app market operators, as well as mobile app developers and service providers, should and shouldn't do.

“More than 84 percent of households are using smartphones, but more than 70 percent of them are not comfortable about smartphone app privacy,” the KCC said, citing a local consumer survey about household smartphone usage in South Korea.

According to the guide, operating system and app market operators such as Google Inc. and Apple Inc. should set specific limits on access to personal information available to app developers and service providers.

App developers and service providers are required to keep user consent settings available whenever consumers download, use, and delete a mobile app.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Lim in Seoul at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Katie W. Johnson at

The “Guideline on Smartphone App Personal Information Protection” is available, in Korean, at