South Korean Data Localization: Shaped by Conflict

The rapid growth of digital data stores and the increasing vulnerability in intellectual property challenges governments around the world to find ways to protect and regulate the flow and storage of data. Multiple countries, including the Republic of Korea (ROK), have enacted domestic data localization laws to limit the movement of data to specific jurisdictions. Each government adopts data localization for different purposes such as to protect citizens’ privacy and security, to develop economies, or to enforce domestic laws. For the South Korean government, data localization laws are meant to protect national security and South Korean users’ privacy. However, the fact that South Korea is technically still at war with North Korea adds uniqueness to South Korea’s data localization laws.

In addition to the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), South Korea has two more major laws that regulate strictly on spatial and location information–the Act on the Protection Location Information and the 1961 Korean Land Survey Act. Unlike other countries, South Korean data localization regulations on data not only are meant to protect the privacy and security of citizens, but also put strict limitations on geographical data for national security reasons. While these three major laws are necessary for the South Korean government to protect and regulate valuable data within the nation, they are also a new barrier to global digital trade.


Source: South Korean Data Localization: Shaped by Conflict – The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies