Seoul Court Orders Google to Disclose Personal Data

Kyung Ho Kim, Oct. 16, 2015, 9:08 a.m.


Google Inc. was ordered by a Seoul court Friday to disclose the list of personal information it has shared with third parties, including a U.S. intelligence agency. Six South Korean activists filed a lawsuit against the global tech giant in July 2014, demanding to know whether it shared their personal information with a third party.

Google failed to respond to their request for records of the information in February last year. Google is suspected of passing on the private information of its users, including those that live outside the U.S., to an American government intelligence program known as PRISM, the Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ) said.

PRISM, which made global headlines after former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden divulged its existence last year, trawls the Internet for email and chat records of anyone who has contacts in the U.S.

"Even if Google has servers in the U.S. or other countries, it must abide by South Korean law when dealing with users in South Korea," the CCEJ said in a statement. "Google should, therefore, respond to South Koreans' request for information about its history of leaking sensitive data." Under South Korean law, online service providers must respond to a customer's request to disclose any record of their personal data being shared with a third party. The court, however, dismissed the plaintiffs' claim seeking 3 million won (US$2,600) in compensation.

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