Most Read Contributor in South Korea, February 2017
On April 29, 2016, the Korea Communications Commission
("KCC") issued the Guidelines on the Right to Request
Access Restrictions on Personal Internet Postings (the
"Guidelines"). With the Guidelines, individuals can
request web operators or service providers to restrict the public
from accessing his/her postings that he/she has personally uploaded
in the past ("personal internet postings"), and to
ultimately remove these online information that the individuals
cannot delete by themselves.
For several years, there has been an active discussion within
Korea to introduce a right to allow individuals to request personal
data to be restricted from online access, which is known as the
"right to be forgotten."
Individuals had means of relief to erase certain personal
information published by third parties, under several statutes,
such as the Copyright Act, the Act on Press Arbitration and
Remedies For Damage Caused by Press Reports, the Act on Promotion
of Information and Communications Network Utilization and
Information Protection, and others. However, in case where
individuals have lost the right to control his/her postings due to,
for example, loss of membership account information or in the even
that the website has been suspended, the individuals were unable to
remove their personal postings.
By adopting the Guidelines provided by the KCC, individuals can
protect their privacy from potential injuries or damages in their
employment, promotion or marriages as a result of their past
An applicant requesting restriction of access is required to
submit the following three items to prove that the posting at issue
was in fact posted by him/herself: (i) the posting at issue and the
URL links to the posting; (ii) proof that the posting at issue was
posted by the applicant; and (iii) grounds for the
Unless (i) the posting at issue is prohibited from being blocked
or deleted pursuant to other statutes or orders and, as a result,
the web operator is obligated to preserve the posting at issue;
and/or (ii) when the posting at issue has significant relevance to
public interests, web operators and service providers can process
individuals' requests for access restriction.
Third parties, however, may challenge the web operator's
decisions to grant access restriction by claiming that they are the
ones who uploaded the posting at issue, not the applicant.
When third parties make these challenges, they must submit the
reasons for the challenge as well as the proof of their claim.
Please note that the Guidelines, which will take effect as early
as June 2016, are non-binding and the effectiveness of the
Guidelines largely depends on the voluntary cooperation by the web
operators and service providers. However, given that consumer
privacy may be a form of non-price competition for businesses that
profit from having a large user base such as internet companies, as
more and more consumers begin to exercise their right to request
access restrictions on personal internet postings pursuant to the
Guidelines, internet service providers will have no choice but to
comply with the Guidelines to maintain their user base.
In addition, given that the Guidelines apply to Korean companies
as well as foreign internet companies providing Korean-language
services to any individuals regardless of the location of their
physical servers, non-Korean companies that offer services to
individuals should familiarize themselves with the Guidelines and
closely monitor any changes that will be made to the Guidelines as
the Guidelines continue to be amended based on the public's
If you have any inquiries or questions in relation to the
Guidelines, we will be at your disposal to accommodate your
ICT Legal Update 2016.05
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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