Seoul– Google and Meta Platforms have filed a lawsuit against a ruling by the South Korean data protection watchdog to penalise the global tech giants for illegally collecting personal data here, industry sources said on Monday.

The legal action by the two US companies came after the Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) decided in September last year to slap a combined fine of 100 billion won ($77.2 million) on them for collecting personal information without users’ consent and using it for personalised online advertising and other purposes.

The fines marked the highest amount ever imposed for alleged violations of the personal information protection law, reports Yonhap news agency.

The PIPC also ordered Google and Meta to inform their users clearly and simply, and get their consent if they are to gather or use user behavior data on websites or applications outside of their own platforms.

But Google and Meta have expressed regrets over the regulatory decision, claiming it is operators of websites and applications, not platform operators like themselves, who are supposed to receive legitimate consent in the process of collecting information from users visiting the websites and using apps.

The Personal Information Protection Commission looked into whether the privacy policy update by Meta, the operator of Facebook, ran afoul of domestic law.

The tech giant later withdrew a controversial plan to deny access to users of its platform if they do not accept the terms of its privacy policy update. (IANS)