On October 7, 2022, Mr. Haksoo Ko, formerly a professor at the Seoul National University School of Law, was officially appointed by President Yoon Suk-yeol as the new Chair of the Personal Information Protection Commission (the “PIPC”). Mr. Ko officially began his three-year term on the same day.
As a widely respected scholar and lawyer with degrees in economics from Seoul National University and Columbia University, as well as a J.D. from Columbia Law School, Mr. Ko previously served as the Head of the Center for Law and Economics at Seoul National University and the President of the Asian Society of Law and Economy. He is also a renowned expert in the field of data and artificial intelligence and has served as the President of the Korean Association for Artificial Intelligence and Law and the Vice President of the Seoul National University AI Research Institute.
In his inaugural address to the agency staff, Mr. Ko stressed the role of the PIPC in finding the right balance between the protection and safe utilization of personal information and laid out four priorities for the agency going forward:
Promote and strengthen the rights of data subjects in various respects, such as expanding data portability to all sectors, eliminating blind spots for protection of personal information of vulnerable groups in digital environment (e.g., children and teenagers), guaranteeing data subjects the right to inquire into the basis for automated decision-making;
Create a secure personal information utilization environment by encouraging data convergence through the use of pseudonymized data and promoting self-regulation based on cooperation between the public and private sectors;
Reinforce the personal information protection system with a greater focus on preventive measures by, e.g., encouraging “privacy by design” (e.g., integrating data protection procedures into new technologies at the time of their creation), and conduct strict enforcement activities against violations of the Personal Information Protection Act (both domestic and abroad); and
Strengthen global ties with other major privacy/data protection organizations and agencies worldwide.
With the new Chair in place, we expect the PIPC to continue its active enforcement of the law, while being more innovative in safe and secure data usage going forward.