[Weekend Briefing] South Korea’s lawsuit on Facebook privacy

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Oct. 27, 2023 9:49PM GMT+9 Updated Oct. 29, 2023 6:45PM GMT+9

“Weekend Briefing” is a weekly newsletter that is sent to The Readable’s subscribers every Friday. Journalists for The Readable select important news stories from the previous week. Topics encompass privacy, cybercrime, and policy development in cybersecurity. There are no costs involved with a subscription, and some content, such as industrial reports, is only available to those who subscribe to our newsletters.

Hello! This is Kuksung Nam reporting from South Korea. The legal dispute between South Korea’s privacy regulator and Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. has come to a head, with the court ruling in favor of the privacy agency’s decision to impose a fine of 6.7 billion won ($5 million) on the social media platform for allowing third-party applications, including one with links to Cambridge Analytica, to access the private information of its users without their consent. As the court has sided with the decision of the Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC), the choice is left to the global tech giant to decide whether to continue the legal battle or to admit their culpability and pay the fine.

In addition, we covered three more issues on the topic of South Korea’s cybersecurity landscape, including one on a possible budget cut for the nation’s cybersecurity research institution. Moreover, we have selected memorable quotes delivered by speakers during the 8th annual Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW) and have included the links to the relevant articles issued last week in Singapore. Enjoy the stories, and we wish you a wonderful weekend!

1. Court rules in favor of South Korea’s privacy watchdog in Cambridge Analytica lawsuit

Designed by Areum Hwang, The Readable

South Korean court sides with privacy agency’s decision to fine Meta Platforms Inc. for allowing third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, to access users’ private information without express consent.

On Thursday, Seoul Administrative Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by Facebook parent company, Meta, against the South Korean Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) for a 2020 decision the Commission made against the company. While the court did not explain the details of its decision, it noted, following a thorough examination of the plaintiff’s claims, that the Commission was legally justified in taking the steps it did against Meta. READ MORE

2.  Budget cuts loom over South Korea’s national cybersecurity studies

Designed by Sangseon Kim, The Readable

South Korea’s cybersecurity research institution is bracing for possible deep funding cuts as the country plans to reform its scientific research budget.

According to South Korean lawmaker Ko Min-jung on Tuesday, the National Security Research Institute’s funding for cybersecurity research and development is expected to be 38 billion won ($29 million) next year, a 29% decline from the level proposed for fiscal 2023. This is the lowest proposed budget in the last six years, which had never been less than 50 billion won ($37 million). READ MORE

3.  Experts warn of rise of digital partnerships among authoritarian

Designed by Sangseon Kim, The Readable

As the cyber domain emerges as the next frontier of cooperation among like-minded countries, South Korean experts raised concerns about the possible digital partnership between authoritarian governments including Russia, China, and North Korea.

On Wednesday, Doo Jin-ho, a research fellow at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA), highlighted the strategic partnership between Russia and China in cyberspace during the fifth National Strategy Forum held by the Korean Association of Cybersecurity Studies (KACS). “For China and Russia, the spread of democratic values is a critical threat to their regimes,” said the expert on Russia’s military and foreign strategies. “To establish a firm ground of their governance, the two countries could seek to expand their strategic cooperation in cybersecurity.” READ MORE

4. Chief privacy regulator joins UN advisory group on AI

The chairperson of the Personal Information Protection Commission, Ko Hak-soo, is speaking at the 17th plenary session held on October 26. Source: Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC)

South Korea’s chief privacy regulator was designated as one of the members of a newly launched advisory group in the United Nations dedicated to assisting the international community in managing the benefits and risks surrounding artificial intelligence.

On Friday, the Personal Information Protection Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a joint statement on the nomination of Ko Hak-soo, the chairperson of the PIPC, as the representative of the UN high-level advisory body on AI. “There are diverse opinions on how to establish international norms on AI,” stated Ko. “We will serve as an intermediary between the nations at the forefront of developing the technology and those on the frontlines of using it, with our aim being to facilitate the most prosperous solutions for all concerned.” READ MORE

5. Quotes from SICW: Anne Neuberger and more

Anne Neuberger, deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technologies at the White House, on the right, is delivering her speech at the 8th Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW) on October 17. Photo by Kuksung Nam, The Readable

SICW High-Level Panel: Death of Multilateralism? – Future of International Cyber Discussions

“Any country is welcome to join the international counter ransomware initiative. Germany and Nigeria lead the diplomacy aspect that reviews requests for support, and of course invite countries to join. To address any perceptions of a particular approach, the diversity of its members matters. The diversity of members in terms of the size of the countries, different perspectives in terms of the scale of their digital economies, in terms of the regions they come from, and the degree of digital development in those arenas matter as well.” READ MORE

6. [SICW] Singapore deputy prime minister stresses cooperation for prosperous digital revolution

7. [SICW] US aims to secure generative AI with updated guideline

8. [SICW] Scams present significant security challenges to Singaporeans, cybersecurity chief asserts

9. [SICW] Full scripts: Singapore International Cyber Week (October 16, 2023)


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.