contents of Kakao Privacy Philosophy

FAQ

This section provides answers to frequently asked questions about privacy protection and the transparency report. If you need additional information regarding privacy protection and the transparency report, please contact the Kakao Customer Service for more details. Customer Service

contents of Transparency Report
  • Companies respond to requests, which include requests to provide users’ personal information or delete users’ postings, from government organizations through legitimate procedures. Companies respond to such requests to uphold the law, but users find the company’s actions disappointing since they are unaware of the details. As a result, companies have started to transparently disclose their actions in order to regain users’ trust and fulfill their obligation as a service provider. Google was the first company to release a transparency report in 2010, and as of December 2014, 38 IT companies have released their own transparency reports. Kakao is the first company in Korea to publish a transparency report. Releasing a transparency report is considered the most important measure companies can adopt to protect users’ privacy and freedom of speech.

  • The content of a transparency report differs for each company. Most transparency reports contain information on government requests for data such as user information and requests from government organizations, copyright owners and users to delete specific content. Increased transparency provided by companies can offer experts in various fields, including those actually responsible for related policies and law, with a wide variety of implications. We believe transparency reports will ultimately help our society find a balance between maintaining public safety and protecting users’ privacy.

  • Requested user information is only submitted if it is required by law. In other words, users’ personal information is only provided if the request has legal force, such as the “search and seizure warrants”, “request for communication confirmation data,” “communication-restricting measures” and the court’s “order to submit” the information. The provided information is limited to those specified in the search and seizure warrant and we only provide communications confirmation data we own out of those defined in the Protection of Communication Secrets Act. Communication-restricting measures is an act of monitoring users’ conversations, usually on telephones, emails and messenger services. Investigative organizations can request for user’s telecommunication data, including the user’s name, resident registration number, address, telephone number and ID, through legal procedures. However, Kakao no longer provides such information following a high court ruling (2011Na 19012) that states that the service provider must compensate the user for damages if the information is provided without the user’s consent.

  • Under the Criminal Procedure Law, all individuals and companies are obligated to respond to search and seizure warrants that have been issued by a Korean court. All telecommunications/digital services companies, including Kakao and other Internet companies, are required to abide by requests for communications data, communication confirmation data and communication-restricting measures. The same obligation is applied to common carriers, service-based carriers and value-added carriers. All carriers are legally obligated to submit a report that contains the information provision status to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

  • On some occasions, the government’s request for information does not satisfy requirements that are expected in documents of such nature. For example, the document is addressed to the incorrect recipient, the expiration date has expired, or each page is not initialized or stamped with a seal. Services are provided with the user’s ID, and therefore, requests may not be processed if the request only contains the user’s name or nickname (both which are invalid since different people can have the same name). Requests for resident registration numbers cannot be accepted since Kakao no longer collects users’ resident registration numbers and has destroyed all previously collected ones. We do not have users’ mac addresses either, making it impossible to respond to requests for mac addresses. The requested information may not be available if the user has unregistered from the service or directly deleted the posting. We are also unable to provide information on users who have not logged in due to the lack of information.

  • This is not always the case. There may be a difference in number of requests/processed requests and accounts because a single document from the court, or investigative organizations may contain a request for a single user’s information, or the information of multiple users that pertain to a criminal case.
    The number of accounts is the number of processed accounts from the document submitted. However, we may provide accounts if the document contain a request for the chat partners’ accounts.

  • he Protection of Communication Secrets Act obligates the prosecutor’s office or police to send a notification about any seizures, searches or investigations on transmitted or received telecommunications, or of any executed limitations of communications or provided communication confirmation data. The prosecutor’s office or police must provide the concerned user with a written notification which contains information on the executed warrant, law enforcing organization and period, within thirty (30) days from the prosecution, or disposition not to prosecute or charge (not including stay of prosecution).
    Kakao actively participates in critical discussions about making practical improvements surrounding user notification in order to guarantee users’ right-to-know and strengthen the right of self-determination with personal information.

  • Kakao is the first company in Korea to release a transparency report. We decided to launch a transparency report because we felt that there was a need for discussion on the subject of “privacy” at a time when users’ interest in the subject was increasing. In the United States, 32 out of the 38 companies that released transparency reports up until 2014 made the decision to disclose their information in response to the privacy debates that followed Edward Snowden’s revelations. More discussions about privacy in the digital age with be needed in the future and we at Kakao will provide regular updates about privacy debates. We will acquire insight from experts in various fields, as well as our users, to determine how we will disclose what information to our users for more transparent communication.

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