South Korean Government and Businesses Working to Have Global Internet Businesses Obligated to Make Their Information Public

Jul 07, 2017

There are increasing numbers of people who are requesting global internet businesses such as Google and Facebook to make their information known to public in order to resolve problems regarding unfairness and reverse discrimination. They are saying that it is difficult to establish accurate policies that will protect consumers since they are not making their traffic and sales known to public despite of their huge influence. Plan that will include value added common carriers as part of market review and make their information known to public obligated has been presented as an alternative. (Related news: page 11)
“Because global IT businesses are continuing to carry out unfair actions through subtle loopholes in positive laws, discussions about possible solutions are happening rapidly throughout the world.” said Oh Sae-jung, who is a member of The People’s Party, at a ‘discussion about solutions for reverse discrimination issues through introduction of market reviews on internet markets and formation of fair trade environment’ that took place at National Assembly’s Meeting Hall 8 on the 6th. “Because global IT businesses are registering their South Korean corporate as private companies, problems regarding reverse discrimination between South Korean businesses and global IT businesses are not getting improved.”
This discussion was prepared to study problems of South Korean internet markets and to listen to opinions regarding solutions for reverse discrimination in ICT markets and formation of fair trade environments. It was co-hosted by the office led by Oh Sae-jung and The Electronic Times and ran by National Assembly’s Future Job Forum.
Kwon Oh-sang, who is the director of Media & Future Institute Center, also emphasized that South Korean Government needs to prepare plans because problems regarding unfair incidences by foreign businesses and reverse discrimination on South Korean businesses are very serious in South Korea’s internet markets. He presented basic applications that are shown on an initial screen of Android, which is an operating system (OS) for mobile devices, as an incidence where foreign businesses abuse their power and dominance in South Korean markets and pointed out that there are reverse discrimination problems such as suspicion of evasion of taxes on South Korean businesses. 90% of corrective measures against prostitution materials and gambling contents were placed on businesses that have servers in foreign countries. However South Korean Government has difficulties in imposing effective sanctions on them.
“U.S., EU, and Japan are increasing extraterritorial application of their national laws in order to protect their businesses and enforcing penalties.” said Director Kwon. “Although we need to at least maintain principles of regulations, we need post-regulations that will minimize side effects from markets in the future.”
Jung Jin-han, who is the director for Korea Information Society Development Institute’s Telecommunication Policy Group, proclaimed that close monitoring is required on value added telecommunication markets. Value added telecommunication markets had continuously grown from $7.35 billion (8.5 trillion KRW) in 2007 to $15.8 billion (18.3 trillion KRW) from digital economic system. Possibilities of conflicts such as conflicts between SK Broadband and Facebook, which became an issue recently, have also increased.
“Because value added telecommunication services are becoming more diversified, it is difficult to understand actual condition of use and overall current condition.” said Director Jung. “Although application of market review is still early, presentation of documents is needed in order to closely monitor markets.”
Bill that requires one to make its information public in order to clearly understand situations was recently motioned in South Korea as well. This bill includes value added common carriers to market review and includes information that requires presentation of documents as an obligation according to requests from the minister of Ministry of Science, ICP and Future Planning. Although South Korean internet businesses such as Naver and Kakao are also included as targets, this bill mainly focuses on global IT businesses in order to clearly understand their actual conditions. Because global businesses usually enter South Korea as private companies, they are not required for audits or public announcements.
“Understanding how global internet businesses provide their services in South Korea is a first step towards improving market conditions.” said Oh Sae-jung. “When this bill is passed, it will be possible to create environments for fair competitions and to prepare accurate policies that will protect consumers.”
Staff Reporter Oh, Daeseok | ods@etnews.com

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