Legislative Bill Granting Property Rights to Personal Information to Be Issued

Nov 15, 2019

Amendment to the civil law that will grant property rights to data such as personal information is set to be issued. When such amendment is implemented, one will have a right to sell or distribute his or her information. Companies can purchase and utilize personal information and develop new products or services. At the moment, it is difficult for the data distribution market in South Korea to be vitalized as ownership issue regarding personal information use is ambiguous.
Kim Sae-yeon, who is a member of Liberty Korea Party, stated that he would issue a legislative bill that partially changes the current civil law sometime during this month. Main point of his amendment is to grant property rights to data. The amendment defines data as property and it will recognize data contract as a typical contract from a standpoint of the civil law. It will allow data to be transferred or used by a different person and it defines cost of data as ‘data contract’. It also enacts principles such as compensation for damage, billing statement, and reimbursement of profit to resolve issues such as contract cancellation and dispute regarding data quality.
According to Kim Sae-yeon, South Korea is the first country to actually issue a bill although many advanced countries are actively discussing about recognizing data as property rights. “Although data economy is being vitalized and trade markets are expanding, relevant laws and systems to utilize data economy and trade markets are incomplete.” said Kim Sae-yeon. “Because we expect that there will be disputes over data ownership in the future, it is urgent for us to include data to the definition of goods from the standpoint of our civil law.”

Legislative Bill Granting Property Rights to Personal Information to Be Issued

Industries are welcoming such legislative bill as they believe that clarifying the concept of ownership will provide momentum to the data distribution market. They expect that companies can recommend personal products and news utilizing information such as one’s pictures, preferences, and location and develop new business models such as recommending friends who share interests.
“This legislative bill is meaningful as we can share profits that come from data distribution with actual people who share their personal information.” said a representative of an industry. “This will help vitalize relevant industries when people start to realize that they can actually profit from their personal information.”
However, industries point out the need for clarifying the range of personal information through individual legislation. There needs to be enforcement decrees or individual legislation to resolve controversy surrounding the range of personal information and to prepare an even point between protection of property rights and data use. “Simply recognizing ownership of all data can be a harm to relationship with other rights and balance of profits between various people concerned.” said Kim Sae-yeon. “It is necessary to leave some margins to the law.” His stance is to set the range of personal information that is recognized as property rights through individual legislation and to induce data transaction amount to be set by markets.
Staff Reporter An, Youngguk | ang@etnews.com & Staff Reporter Park, Jongjin | truth@etnews.com & Staff Reporter Jeon, Jiyeon | now21@etnews.com

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