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Allow innovation to thrive

June 28,2018
“Outdated privacy regulations and systems, as well as a lack of quality data, pose as stumbling blocks towards Korea’s entry into the fourth industrial revolution,” said Chang Byung-gyu, chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The judgment comes from someone who founded and built game developer Bluehole Studio against a challenging environment for data-backed analytics and industrial applications.

Although dubbed as an IT powerhouse, Korea imposes the strictest privacy standards among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Countries are eager in applying data power in the economy in the age of automation and digitalization. Big data will add value to traditional industries and create new ones. The knack for feeding and cooking on data resources is defining corporate competitiveness. The top five market-cap stocks last year were data-powered names — Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook.

The presidential committee proposed a set of measures that can take effect without the need to go through a lengthy lawmaking process. One of those solutions is the so-called My Data project that enables civilians to download personal information from public institutions for personal use.

Consumers will be able to easily access medical checkup results, financial transactions and mobile communications information on their smartphones. The project recommends revisions in the privacy law by the end of the year to vitalize data employment. The committee has come up with various ideas through public debates.

But the committee merely has an advisory role. The presidential and government offices must fight to remove the stumbling blocks to innovative growth.

Another impending deregulation is the strict rule restricting industrial capital investment and ownership in banks that hamper growth in online banks. Under the cap, there is a limit to the expansion in internet-only banks. The regulation must be lifted so that they can compete better with conventional banks and offer greater choices to consumers. At the end of the day, innovation cannot make meaningful strides in Korea unless regulations are removed.

JoongAng Ilbo, June 27, Page 30