The Day of Cleaning Personal Data — from September 10 to October 31, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS) worked to delete personal information on the Internet. The nationwide promotion indicates that people are not well aware of the protection or utilization of their personal data, although they are always producing and passing on the data. Now in the face of the amendment plan of Privacy Act at the initiative of MOIS, it is necessary to reconsider the role of the individuals who provide their personal data.
On August 31, President Moon Jae-in announced a forthcoming deregulation to facilitate the growth of the data market. The amendment bill is to release pseudonymous data for the public interest. Furthermore, data processed to be anonymous via categorization can be open for industrial purposes. It is meaningful in that it acknowledged the importance of the practical use of personal data that can boost industry and the economy in the fourth industrial revolution era.
Nevertheless, the direction of the plan needs to be reconsidered as the current system does not consider the benefits of the owners of personal data. During the announcement, Kim Sang-gwang, the Assistant Manager of the Personal Information Protection Policy Division of MOIS, said that the third Regulatory and Institutional Reform Hackathon (HACKATHON) greatly influenced the decision to change the law. However, their conclusion and the currently discussed amendments do not fit with the past claim of the organizer of the HACKATHON.
The Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4th-IR), which hosts the conference, mentioned the development of Korea Personal Data Store (K-PDS) in February. PDS allows individuals to deposit and share their personal data. What differentiates PDS from the recent bill in Korea is that the former leads to a win-win situation, providing benefits for the informants. For example, Fujitsu, a Japanese company, let users voluntarily record their daily information to share with other corporations and get cryptocurrency in return.
With such precedents, it would not be too difficult to make a Korean model. In order to encourage participation and give fair compensation, rewards in the form of customized service, digital tokens or points can be considered. An official platform for managing the exchange needs to be developed in the public institutions such as the 4th-IR to introduce PDS with credibility. Subsequently, it can be expanded to private enterprises and form a new industry as was done in other countries such as Britain.
Along with 4th-IR, the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) can combine PDS in its proposed project, K-MyData, which has been periodically announced since 2016. By the service, individuals can voluntarily provide their personal information to get customized services such as healthcare. However, not a specific date or subject was stated even in the most recent press release on June 26. With the President giving attention to the law amendment, now is the time to embody the project and establish a PDS that can provide rewards for the individual users.
In the era of information and communication technology (ICT), the importance of information utilization is becoming more and more magnified. However, it is not enough to consider the data itself. The currently discussed way of amending the law is going in a slightly wrong direction in that the research or private organizations can use processed personal data without permission or reward. Drawing the individuals into the platform, the proper compensation can be given so that it can make the service more reasonable and sustainable.