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Naver moves to defend users from investigation warrants

South Korea's top portal operator Naver Corp. said Monday it will seek to add more transparency to its management of privacy by having exclusive lawyers review and possibly reject warrants, amid rising concerns over the government's censorship online.

"Starting in April, Naver will adopt a new system in which lawyers review warrants issued by state investigators, to make sure that they do not violate the rights of unrelated users," the company said, adding it will not respond to requests that may harm its privacy policy.

The move came months after the country's top mobile messenger operator Daum Kakao Corp. said in October it will refuse to cooperate with any warrants issued against users of its applications. This came amid rising rumors among users that investigators may look into personal records to root out the spread of anti-government remarks online.

In the first privacy report released earlier in January, Naver said state authorities had issued 9,342 search warrants against it in 2014, up more than six-fold from 1,487 in 2012. Of them, 8,188 warrants were issued by a court in 2014, compared to 1,278 two years before. Naver said it will release such reports twice a year.

Naver said it will also seek a third-party organization to review the company's compliance to telecommunications rules to ensure that the private information of the users is well protected. (Yonhap)

Korea Herald daum