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Revision of data privacy laws to bolster Korea's digital New Deal initative Updated: 2020-08-05 17:08:38 KST

Spam messages and marketing material fill up our inboxes every day, and more often than not they are unwanted and irrelevant.
A retail giant here in Seoul is now using a big data platform to better target customers, based on personal details and shopping records.

"Based on their purchases and favourite items, and behavioural analysis on our shopping platform, we customise shopping information for our customers. We aim to gather external data in the future and optimise this platform."

The platform is an example of how Korea is aiming to foster data-based innovation, as part of the government's digital "New Deal."
Prospects are bright as the revisions of three major laws on data sharing go into effect on Wednesday.
Major changes include the concept of pseudonymization, which means removing any attributes that could identify an individual.
Firms and researchers can now process and use pseudonymized data without additional consent, and also use personal information if it is "rationally" related to the original purpose.
Fintech and medical companies, in particular, are set to benefit from the revision.

"Banks may use those data elements that is non personal information or synonymized information to identify different segments of the population to see what needs are needed for different types of products for instance, mortgages and personal loans. Another example is the introduction of more big data analysis. Identifying where fraud occurs, algorithms tying it to the data elements will be able to make businesses more profitable while also lowering premiums for the consumers. So it's a win-win situation when this type of innovation is occurring."

Still, IT companies say the data laws leave much to be desired.

"There's criticism that the laws and guidelines are still conservative and contain overly punitive measures which would discourage data handlers from fully utilizing data, thereby limiting business potential. Instead, the terms of data use should be presented to users in a simpler, more transparent way and enable 'opting out'."

"While there are still areas that need clarification, the revision of the 3 data laws is expected to boost Korea's data dam initiative to fuel innovation in the country.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News."
Reporter : osy@arirang.com
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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