SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Korea Bizwire) – Those making frequent use of their mobile devices can easily get frustrated when the process of installing a new app requires access to a bunch of sensitive information, often raising questions of personal data ending up in the wrong hands.
In an effort to help smartphone users better protect their privacy and information stored on their smart devices, the Korea Communications Commission announced a revision to the information and communications network law on Sunday, set to take effect in early 2017.
The revision makes it mandatory for mobile app and OS developers to classify information access requests into two categories – necessary and optional requests – and allows smartphone users choose whether to grant access for optional categories.
With the revision, operating systems such as Apple’s iOS and Android’s 6.0 Marshmallow that currently ask users to grant access to certain data when running a newly-installed app, will have to inform users of the full details of the access rights to be permitted, and users will have the choice to either agree or disagree. The same procedure will apply for pre-installed apps, the KCC said.
Making access requests optional or mandatory must be decided based on the scope of the app’s service and technical relevance, as disclosed in its terms and personal information policies.
In accordance with the new set of rules, smartphone manufactures will have to equip their phones with an OS that allows users to select which information they want to disclose, while app developers must also provide ways for users to agree as well as withdraw information access in the phone’s preferences.
The revision will apply to all apps newly launched or updated after March 23, 2017, and failure to abide by the mandate will result in up to 30 million won ($25,600) in fines, added the KCC.
“The revision will help prevent excessive access to smartphone features by mobile apps, especially in a time when an extensive amount of personal information is stored on smart devices,” said a KCC official. “Users will be able to better practice their right to privacy.”
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)