SEOUL, March 31 (Korea Bizwire) — Global tech giant Google Inc. is facing criticism in South Korea for putting consumer protection on the back burner despite having an unrivaled presence in the domestic mobile operating system (OS) market.
Today, Google commands a share of more than 70 percent of the nation’s mobile OS market.
On March 23, owners of Android smartphones experienced embarrassing moments. Certain applications including KakaoTalk repeatedly stopped working.
This service failure occurred as a result of conflict between Google’s recently updated Web View and other apps.
According to the Google service status dashboard, this problem was recognized first at around 8 a.m., but a related notice was not posted until around 3 p.m.
This was not the first time that Google-related services caused a massive disruption.
In 2020 alone, service errors were reported four times including one in December when Google’s services, including Gmail, Google Calendar, were not available for about one hour.
Against this backdrop, the government applied the revised Telecommunications Business Act in February, asking Google to secure service reliability and take measures to protect its users. In particular, the revised act has a provision that stipulates the duty of compensation when users suffer damages.
Under an exceptional clause, however, services without usage fees are excluded from the application of the provision. Accordingly, it is unlikely that Google will pay compensation for the service failure that occurred on March 23.
Previously, Google Korea raised controversy after it failed to handle 45 percent of damage relief reports made between 2014 and August 2019.
Even in the latest case, Google did nothing but post a single comment of apology for causing inconvenience the next day.
Some experts stress that the supplementation of the Telecommunications Business Act is an urgent priority, adding that it is unreasonable to view Google as a free service since it generates a huge amount of revenue through the supply of the OS to smartphone vendors, and the company rakes in the so-called ‘passage tax’ from app markets.
J. S. Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)