Personal data protection – Asian style

LINE user here. LINE – the Japanese pendant to WhatsApp, KakaoTalk, WeChat or whatever you use to chat these days. On a related note, consider switching to Signal, Telegram or something similar; but read on: LINE is also the app of choice in Taiwan, so it’s an obvious choice if you live there.

Recently, on starting the app, it asked me to accept its new personal data protection terms. With this screen (notice the second bullet at the bottom):

Agreeing to LINE sharing my personal info for marketing purposes (to third parties, aka spammers)? Maybe not. Nope. They have at least my phone number and email address, probably some more personal data about me. Not happening… Fortunately, one can tap on the green check-mark and uncheck it. Easy, one thinks. But then, when you want to proceed:

Haha, thank you for offering to uncheck an item (all 3 are checked by default, btw). But going back to the first screen and actually reading the text, one finds a link that explains how to opt out of direct marketing. OK, choose that link and you are presented with this:

Easy, huh? This must be among the worst behavior regarding customer data privacy any large-scale Internet company has ever shown. My LINE account is deleted (which I could only perform after agreeing to their terms!).

Please go ahead and share this, IMHO a company having such standards should not have the right to stay in business…

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Back to East Asia…

— or “things that only happen in Japan, Korea and Taiwan (and maybe other countries that are heavily influenced by the former)”

Taiwan had a very nice idea – conveniently file your tax online! When I tried to use it and it asked me to download and install a software that only runs on Windows, my Korean experience should’ve rang all alarm bells there are in the region. Anyway, a few hours later the conclusion: It’s software made specifically for foreigners to file their tax (locals use another method). Buuuutttt; it only works on Chinese Windows, not on e.g. English versions of the OS; which a foreigner in his infinite ignorance might dare to use.

Welcome back…

Edit: The challenge of finding a Chinese Windows was the easy part. Wait for the next post about actually paying the tax as a foreigner – I’m busy finding a plastic bag and stuffing bank notes in it. Once done I shall share my experience being diligent with the Taiwanese tax man…