SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Korea Bizwire) – Silicon Valley is well known for fighting against government surveillance to protect its users. But what steps are Korean IT companies taking to safeguard their customers?
Naver and Daum are Korea’s leading web portals, claiming approximately 75 percent and 15 percent the market, respectively, while Kakao is Korea’s dominant tech company with its flagship messenger KakaoTalk hosting some 40 million domestic users.
In the first half of 2016, 1,809 search and seizure warrants were issued for Kakao, 1,295 for Daum, and 3,387 for Naver, which resulted in a total of 261,884 Kakao accounts and 20,876 Daum accounts being handed over to the agencies. Naver also submitted information from 50,452 accounts to investigative agencies. The names of the agencies remain confidential.
And although telecommunications companies are not obligated to provide user information without a search and seizure warrant issued by the court, the latest disclosure has shown that significant amount of personal information was handed to the agencies by the major companies.
The three companies cooperated with 50 counts of “limitations on telecommunications”, or monitoring requests, which include accessing communications information (e.g. email content) and interrupting the transmission and recording of information. The specific numbers were 15 for Kakao, 18 for Daum, and 17 for Naver.
Kakao and Daum also provided 687 and 1,123 counts of information on access hours, services accessed, and IP addresses for specific user IDs to the authorities upon request.
Yet, the three companies claim they refused all requests for private information such as names and resident registration numbers, noting that 76 such requests were made for Kakao, 586 for Daum, and 373 for Naver.
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)