The South Korean government seeks to implement new regulatory measures against foreign information technology (IT) companies providing services in the country without having a local branch office in response to their Korean peers’ complaints for unfairly lax supervision on their wrongdoings.
The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) announced on Wednesday that it plans to establish a set of new rules in cooperation with the Ministry of Science Technology and Information Communication to require overseas-based IT firms to have a local agent responsible for dealing with any legal issues. They may even introduce a rule that could allow them to shut down the foreign services that engage in illegitimate activities in the country.
It has been difficult for the Korean government to take necessary measures when foreign IT companies such as video sharing sites or social media commit wrongdoings such as unauthorized collection of personal information, distribution of obscene materials and fee overcharging. Under the current law, the Korean authorities need close cooperation and consultation with relevant government parties in a foreign country where an overseas IT firm is based if they want to take any punitive action against the firm, which is a time consuming and ineffective way.
In contrast, Korean IT companies are strictly and swiftly applied with regulations, prompting Korean peers to call for fair treatment among local and foreign IT businesses that provide services to Korean consumers.
An official from the KCC said that if foreign firms are required to have an agent in Korea, it would become easier for the Korean authorities to conduct investigations and take action when they make problems. The agent will mainly play a role in directly bridging a foreign company and the Korean authorities.
By Kim Gyu-sik and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]