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(LEAD) S. Korea asks Google to change some of its terms of service

All News 17:16 March 14, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with Google reaction)

SEJONG, March 14 (Yonhap) -- Google Inc. said Thursday that it has decided to voluntarily correct many of its terms of service after South Korea's antitrust regulator made the world's first corrective recommendation against the U.S. Internet giant.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said Google should inform its users individually of changes to its terms and conditions of service if the changes are serious in nature or are detrimental to users.

The watchdog also took issue with Google's stipulation that users should look at the terms regularly. It said it is unfair that Google's changes to terms of service will be effective immediately as it cannot be sure that changes addressing new functions for a service or changes made for legal reasons will be in users' favor.

Other matters that the commission disagreed with included users' comprehensive granting of a transferable license with the right to sub-license to YouTube, a global video streaming service owned by Google.

Google has told the commission that it is willing to cooperate with the commission's recommendations, according to an FTC official handling the issue.

The search giant is required to act on the recommendations within 60 days of receiving notification.

Separately, Google has told the commission that it will voluntarily remove users' emails from the scope of its collection of personal information.

Currently, Google terms of service say, "Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection."

Google said it has already decided to voluntarily correct many of the items discussed during the investigation and will continue to work closely with the commission to correct items mentioned in the corrective recommendation.

"Our goal is always to give users transparency and control in their interactions with Google, and we're continually improving the clarity and simplicity of our Terms of Service and other information about our services," Google said in a statement.


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