[Governance] PIDMC in South Korea Initiates Collective Dispute Mediation between Facebook and its Users

Byoung-il Oh antiropy at gmail.com
Mon Jul 12 21:46:05 EDT 2021

Dear colleagues,

Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet is responding to the abuse of personal
information by Facebook in cooperation with a lawfirm Jihyang which is
composed of progressive lawyers. Please refer to the press release below
for more information.

Byoung-il Oh

* * *

PIDMC in South Korea Initiates Collective Dispute Mediation between
Facebook and its Users

Personal Information Dispute Mediation Committee(“PIDMC”) in South Korea
has announced on July 8th, in an official statement that it made a
resolution to commence the collective dispute mediation proceedings between
Facebook Inc. and its users in South Korea. PIDMC publicly announced the
commencement of the proceedings and following plans to further accept
applications from any other users who wish to participate in the collective
dispute mediation. In the coming months, PIDMC is expected to proceed a
thorough investigation over the complaint, and is likely to provide
recommendations or propose the mediation as a settlement to the parties

After eighty-nine Facebook users in South Korea, represented by Lawfirm
Jihyang, filed a collective complaint to PIDMC in April 16th, against
Facebook Inc. and Facebook Ireland, PIDMC has come to a decision to open
the case and proceed the mediation procedure. Kim, Il-Hwan (Chairperson of
PIDMC) chose to take proactive measures against Facebook as public
awareness arises against malpractices of big-techs on users’ data
protection and privacy. According to PIDMC’s press release report, this
case marks as the very first collective dispute mediation case since the
Personal Information Protection Commission(“PIPC”) was established last
August, 2020.

The complaint claims that Facebook has been providing personal data to
third parties without user’s consent, in breach of Personal Information
Protection Act(“PIPA”). The users also filed a petition for Facebook to
disclose the details of the personal data sharing practices including the
scope of the personal data and the list of the third parties that obtained
the access to such data.

When Facebook accepts a collective dispute mediation award presented by the
PIDMC, the PIDMC may advise the personal information controller of Facebook
to prepare and submit a compensation plan for the benefit of the non-party
data subjects suffered from the same incident.

In previous to the users’ complaint for PIDMC, PIPC – a government agency
in South Korea on personal information and privacy protection – has fined
6.7 billion KRW to Facebook in November, 2020, after an investigation of
Facebook’s business practices on user’s privacy protection. The
investigation report of PIPC showed that Facebook has been sharing personal
data of at least 3.3 million out of its 18 million users in South Korea to
the operators of third-party apps installed in Facebook to create
customised advertisements and services. PIPC concluded that the users were
unaware whether their data were being collected and shared to the third
parties, confirming that Facebook obtained no legitimate consent of any of
the users.

As PIDMC has commenced the dispute mediation procedure for Facebook, any
Facebook users can submit an application to participate in this case until
July 26th at PIDMC website(www.kopico.go.kr or kopico at korea.kr) or to the
legal representative, Lawfirm Jihyang(www.jihyangsosong.com).

Lawfirm Jihyang and Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet – a civil advocacy
group for digital rights (www.jinbo.net) – also seek to file additional
complaints and other litigation suits against big-tech companies for their
malpractices on users’ privacy protection and anti-competitive measures.

Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet, Lawfirm Jihyang

for further information, please contact jihyang at jihyanglaw.com

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