About Korea > Korean Laws

Personal Information Protection Act

Personal Information Prote...

As of 30 September 2011, the South Korean government instated a new Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA).  This piece of legislation regulates the collection, usage, and processing of all personal information.  Under the new act, both employee and customer information are subject to the same rules.  The significance of PIPA lies in its universality:  it regulates ALL industries.  Prior to PIPA, there were several different acts which governed different sectors.

Here are a few PIPA highlights:

- Before a person’s data is collected; the purpose, items to be collected, period of retention & usage, and a person’s right to refuse (and the consequences thereof) must be stated.

- In a court of law, the burden of proof is on the defendant to prove compliance with PIPA.

- Each entity in the position to be collecting personal information MUST establish and disclose: an official statement of security measures (technical, managerial & physical) for safeguarding the data collected; privacy policies; and an official statement of the designation and duties of the Chief Privacy Officer (CPO).

- The CPO is the first person who will be subject to criminal investigation, in the event of a breach.

- In the case of both sensitive information (sexual orientation, gender, marital status, etc.) and unique identification information (driver’s license number, national ID number, date of birth, etc.) a separate consent and disclosure must be given for each type.

- Photos are included as personal information.

- CCTV cameras are also regulated under PIPA and are not allowed to have either voice recording functions, or zoom and rotate functions (they must be stationary).

If you are in the position to be collecting personal information, you may want to ensure that you are in full compliance with PIPA.  As of the time of the writing of this article, there had not been an English version of PIPA published on any South Korean government websites; here is the Korean version of PIPA (you can click on English on the site, then type in Personal Information Protection Act (text will be in Korean).

K4E Editors' Note: Korea4Expats wants to provide information that is as complete and accurate as possible so if you notice any omissions or errors on this page please let us know at info@korea4expats.com.

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Last Updated on 2016-04-13

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