I was always too busy to try to research why something about Kakao Talk bothered me. The first time I put it on my mobile device I was mesmerized by the way it, without any involvement of my own, loaded a contact list of people I knew who were using it, or not. I was mesmerized until I thought about where that data came from and then realized it came from my own phone’s contact list.
So this thing raided my contact list and grabbed data without me ok’ing it… people I had called just once from my phone are now my Kakao friends…
Then I watched pretty much every Korean I knew show up on this. Then a few folks from Iran, then pretty much right across the board.
Then I saw photos being shared and the app taking over as the main hub of the phone. When they introduced a kind fof VOIP peer-to-peer calling it was game over. Kakao *was* their phone.
Within short notice I deleted the app. I don’t recall if I closed the account..
Today a Korean student of mine pointed out that she thought she was ‘ok’ in terms of privacy because she doesn’t really use Facebook. I asked if she used Kakao Talk. She said ‘yes’. I said ‘There you go. You are in danger.” She was shocked. The problem is that I didn’t have anything concrete to tell her. So I decided to do some research for her. Here is what I found to start with and your comments would be great to hear. Perhaps some stories of privacy issues.
This story should just about sum it up. When the police came knocking, Kakao Talk quickly handed over what they asked for.
KAKAO will collect the following information to make our services better.
When you sign up for the Services or in the course of your use of the Services, KAKAO will collect your telephone number, contact information saved on your smartphone [I read this as *ALL CONTACT DATA*] or other device [other devices, like computers or wherever else you have installed this tentacled animal] (telephone numbers and names of third parties) [I read ‘third parties’ as ALL YOUR FRIENDS and FAMILY IN YOUR PHONE] , device-specific information, operation system and hardware information including the OS version, CPU and LAN card information, legal guardian information (if you are under 14 years of age), your status information [whatever you type in your status updates they know *AND USE*], name, birth date, ID [ID?????? WTF??], photos (including meta-information) [meta information includes *WHERE YOU ARE* by the way, if you didn’t know], service usage history, email address, location information [they already got that from your photos], IP address [this shows where you are as well] and cookies through the official website of KAKAO, individual applications or programs. KAKAO will also collect shipping information (including the name, mobile phone number and address) [Oh. Now they just take your mailing address. Don’t worry. They already got it pretty close from the other data they took from you above] to ship your purchases [That’s a nice cover]. In addition to the above information [wait! We haven’t taken enough yet! We want MORE!], KAKAO may collect your credit card information [Why not? The CEO needs a bottle of wine with lunch], carrier information, gift certificate number or other information required for payment processing when you use paid services. Given the nature of the Services, the personal information we collect may differ depending on the application or program. Before you get started with an application or program, KAKAO will inform you of the personal information we collect to which you must consent in order to use the Service [that, sucker, was the little checkbox you clicked before you were allowed to start using it].
If that wasn’t enough, they also have special agreements with a bunch of other companies that they share your information with. That means, that you will also have to study each of these companies to see how they are using your photos and information. Good luck. You may need a few hundred years to do that. Whenever you use their ‘services’ [what does that mean?] you agree to let them send all your data to:
We provide the following personal information to third parties to handle customer enquiries:
Parties to be provided with your personal information
- Gifticon: SK Planet
- Giftishow: KT mhows
- GiftTing: Wincube Marketing
- Cootoo: CJ E&M
It doesn’t get any better from there.
My recommendation would be to rid yourself of this app and it’s agreements ASAP.
One day your data will hurt you.