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Users to confirm every targeted ad? Korean regulation in discussion

May 30, 2023 - 17:10 By Moon Joon-hyun

South Korea’s privacy watchdog is gearing up to post new guidelines next month mandating user consent for personalized online ads hosted by advertisers in Korea.

Under the proposed regulation, currently being drafted by the Personal Information Protection Commission, users would be obliged to opt in or out of personalized ads each time they navigate a new online page, regardless of login and membership status.

“Although such a guideline is being drafted, the details are not confirmed. We are still in the stage of soliciting feedback,” a PIPC official told The Korea Herald.

The move aims to strengthen users’ privacy rights by demanding advertisers to obtain individual consent before collecting users' behavioral information to tailor ads. This information is key to crafting personalized ads and increasing the click-through rate as it reveals user preferences, interests, and habits through their web and app usage histories.

However, this development could add a layer of complexity to online browsing, potentially turning numerous ad encounters into decision points for users.

On such concerns, the PIPC official said that the consent mandate, being discussed now, would only apply to personalized ads that make use of users' behavior information, and would take into account parameters like consent validity periods “in order to minimize the hassle on consumers."

She added the regulation could be implemented sometime next year, following a six-month grace period.