Google to revise terms of service upon Korean FTC recommendation

2019.05.22 14:19:35 | 2019.05.22 14:32:42

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Google will revise its terms of service for Korean users in compliance with the local antitrust agency’s demands to fix “unfair” areas concerning privacy policies and content influence.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said Tuesday Google has embarked on the work to alter its terms of service in line with the request from the antitrust agency and will reflect the changes on its website next week. The two parties have discussed for the revision and are in the final stage of ironing out the terms, a FTC official said.

On March 14, the FTC asked Google, Facebook, Naver and Kakao to revise their terms of service that could be subject to copyright infringement and violation of privacy. Facebook, Naver and Kakao immediately revised the problematic clauses on their websites, but Google had not taken any actions until it received an advisory letter from the FTC. A firm who receives an advisory letter is given 60 days to comply or could face remedial order accompanied by criminal penalties in face of incompliance.

Korea’s FTC has become the first state authority to issue remedial advice to Google.

Problematic clauses include one enabling the operator to analyze users’ content including emails to provide personally relevant product features and one allowing the operator to earn a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works, communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute users’ content when they upload and store content through its services.

Governments with separate rules and norms must act in sync against fast ascension of multinational IT companies in order not to cause market upset or scare away foreign competition.

It is important to work closely with international organizations like International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Consumers International and tax authority, said Kim Sang-jo, FTC chairman at an international competition conference in Germany in March.

By Yoon Jin-ho and Lee Ha-yeon

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