By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Mar. 27, 2023 7:30PM GMT+9
Three out of four South Koreans who seek compensation for privacy violations have reached a settlement through the assistance of the nation’s privacy watchdog last year.
According to the Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) on Sunday, 206 cases related to conflicts over personal information being compromised have been resolved through the commission’s dispute mediation committee in 2022. This includes 179 cases that have reached agreements before going through the committee’s mediation process, which is an increase of almost 22% compared to the year before. Among them, victims of 114 cases have received financial compensation of 36 million won (roughly $28,000).
In total, the PIPC said that 976 cases were submitted to the dispute mediation committee for resolution last year. More than 67% of those cases have been closed after consultation, as it was either not a case related to privacy violations or a case that doesn’t need the mediation process. 41 cases have been dismissed because the committee concluded that they did not find privacy violations committed by the accused parties.
More than 14% of the victims requested mediation because their information was collected without their consent. In addition, 8.4% of individuals asked the committee for help due to their personal information having been breached.
The PIPC added that 67 cases have failed to reach settlement over their conflicts. In 8 cases, both parties were in disagreement for reasons such as the amount of monetary compensation owed. Moreover, there were 59 cases where the disputed party refused to participate in the mediation process from the start, leaving no choice for the victims but to take the case to court if they want compensation for their damages.
The PIPC expects this number to gradually decrease as the newly revised privacy law will take effect starting from September of this year.
“Under the new privacy law, not only public institutions but also private companies are obligated to participate in the mediation process,” said Kim Yong-hak, an official of the dispute mediation division of director-general for investigation and coordination of PIPC, to The Readable. “This will open an easy path for data breach victims to get compensation from private companies.”
The cover image of this article was designed by Areum Hwang.
Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and privacy by engaging with industry giants, foreign government officials and experts. Before joining The Readable, Kuksung reported on politics for one of South Korea’s top-five local newspapers, The Kyeongin Ilbo. Her journalistic skills and reportage earned her the coveted Journalists Association of Korea award in 2021 for her essay detailing exclusive stories about the misconduct of a former government official. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a testament to her linguistic capabilities.