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South Korea Fines Apple $2,800 Over iPhone Location Data Collection

Posted Aug 4, 2011 7:26 AM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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The fine—3 million won or $2,800 U.S. dollars—might be a drop in the bucket for a company that earned $7.31 billion in its third quarter, but South Korea's decision to penalize Apple for allegedly collecting and storing private location data may have an influence on regulators elsewhere.

So reports the Associated Press and Wall Street Journal, which detail Korea Communications Commission's announcement Wednesday to fine Apple Korea for violating the country's location information laws.

The regulatory body said that following a four-month investigation, it determined that even if iPhone users disabled location systems on their mobile devices, Apple still continued to collect user whereabouts from June 22, 2010, through May 4, 2011. Apple has denied it collects user location data of iPhone users and has not said whether it plans to pay the fine.

The Wall Street Journal notes that South Korea is the first country to levy a fine against the Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple over privacy-infringement allegations.

In a related matter, Apple was ordered by an administrative court to pay $950 to a South Korean attorney, Kim Hyeong-seok, who sued the company over its collection of user location data. Apple has complied with that order, the Wall Street Journal and AP report.

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