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Apple fined for illegal collection of location data in S. Korea
SEOUL, Aug. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's telecom regulator said Wednesday that it decided to slap a fine on Apple Inc. for illegally collecting iPhone users' location data.

   Apple violated the country's location information laws and was ordered to pay a 3 million won (US$2,829) fine, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said in a statement. The commission also ordered the Cupertino, California-based company to make appropriate corrections to its practices.

   The regulator also ordered Google Inc. to better protect users' data after the commission found that it did not encrypt users' location data temporarily saved on smartphones. The KCC did not fine Google.

   The fine on Apple is the first penalty imposed on the U.S. company for its controversial location data collection. In April, Apple and Google denied allegations that they were tracking users' locations with their mobile devices.

   The KCC said Apple accumulated iPhone users' location data even when users disabled the iPhone's location sensors, infringing on regulations that mandate companies to seek consent from users when they track their whereabouts.

   "Apple does not track locations of iPhone users. We have never done so and we have no plan to do so in the future," said Steve Park, Apple's spokesman in Korea. He declined to comment on whether Apple will appeal the decision or pay the fine.

   Google did not return calls seeking comment.

   Companies engaged in business that involves individuals' location information are required to obtain permits from the commission.

   ylee@yna.co.kr
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