Protection of consumer privacy in e-commerce
Ha, Choong Lyong
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Among the negative effects on Internet consumers, the divulgence of personal information to the public has been reported as one of the most serious infringements on consumer rights. Both consumers and sellers around the world have sought to come up with an optimal solution for information privacy. Several incompatible characteristics of regulating consumer privacy in e-commerce between the U.S. and Korea were explored, and curative suggestions were made to establish a new legal framework to protect online consumer privacy. First, Korea’s regulations for protecting online consumer privacy were found to be centrally controlled, while the U.S. authorities have encouraged self-regulation. Considering the long run efficiency of self-regulation, the Korean authorities should seek more self-regulatory measures and establish consensus among the businesses to voluntarily protect consumer online privacy. Second, U.S. regulations on protection of online consumer privacy are for the most part commercially oriented and controlled by the FTC, whereas in Korea, an administrative department, the Ministry of Information and Communication, regulates online consumer privacy as a primary authority, resulting in lack of specialization in the matters of consumer protection. To improve the efficiency and specialization in regulation of online consumer privacy in Korea, it would be necessary to promulgate a directive specially designed for protecting consumer privacy and delegating the regulatory power to the Korea Consumer Protection Agency established by the Consumer Protection Act. Finally, international arbitration is recommended as the best tool to resolve and prevent the intricacies of international litigation brought against violation of online consumer privacy.