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Two Korean watchdogs have announced a joint probe into crypto exchange operators’ handling of personal data, local news outlet Chosun reports Monday, July 2. The agencies in question are the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) and the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA). The KCC and KISA will investigate potential infringements of data privacy rights by crypto exchange operators in conjunction with third party service providers - for example, smartphone apps designed for services such as real estate, shopping and travel. The probe will reportedly check the status of technical and administrative protection measures related to users’ personal data - covering data access control measures, anti-tampering measures, personal data encryption, and malware protection. After reviewing the collection, use, provision and destruction of personal data by both crypto exchange operators and third parties, the authorities have said they will enforce administrative penalties should they discover violations of the country’s data protection laws . Chosun reports further that the KCC will probe eight crypto money handling firms who have received corrective orders after violating Korea’s Personal Information Protection Act in 2017. Chosun cites a local source who says that recent hacks of domestic crypto exchanges have been a strong impetus for the new probe. These include last month’s high-profile $17 million hack of major Korean exchange Bithumb, whose causes KISA has been investigating in partnership with other agencies. Notably, just prior to the incident, Bithumb had been given the all-clear following a three month long investigation into its operations by South Korean authorities.
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There is one thing experts agree on: North Korea does most of its trade with China. By some estimates, it's more than 90%. But they weren't always so closely aligned. In 2000, data collected by the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra), a South Korean trade body, put China's share of North Korean trade at only 25%. According to Kotra, trade between China and North Korea was worth just over $5bn in 2017. This figure includes an estimated $280m in unreported crude oil exports from China. Total trade was almost $7bn in 2014. The full effect of UN sanctions, which started to get tougher from 2016 as North Korea continued to develop its nuclear capabilities, is still yet to be seen, as is their impact on the value of North Korean imports and exports with China. There is a lot the data can't capture, such as the value of informal business deals that take place across the border, or smuggling of illicit goods. Then there's the lack of statistics from North Korea.
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