Back in May, Google requested South Korea's mapping data for use in its worldwide servers. Although the Korean government originally stated that it will decide on Google's request by today, August 24th, it has now postponed that decision for an additional three months. As announced by Seoul earlier today, the decision has been delayed until November 23rd. In its original request, Google claimed that it needs South Korea's mapping data in order to fully enable its mapping services in the Far Eastern country. Not unexpectedly, Seoul is quite wary of this request as it raises a number of security-related concerns.
The South Korean government officials were cited as saying that they ought to make a "cautious decision" in regards to Google's request and need more time to assess the entire situation. Google's representatives have reportedly already met with the Seoul-based government officials on numerous occasions but have apparently failed to convince them that they'll be giving their sensitive data to the right hands. More meetings and negotiations between Google and South Korea are expected to take place in the coming months. The Mountain View-based tech giant has appointed its engineer Kwon Bom-jun as the person responsible for leading the negotiations.
This entire ordeal began way back when Google was originally launching its Maps services which the South Korean government promptly restricted due to the fears of "endangering national security". South Koreans looking to navigate their home country using Google's service are therefore restricted to only its most basic functionality and have to turn to other, local solutions. Google is obviously not terribly happy with that fact and is claiming that the South Korean government is putting it at an unfair disadvantage against local competition.
And while the Mountain View company is accusing Seoul of rendering its mapping services noncompetitive, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has recently announced a formal investigation against Google for alleged violations of the country's anti-competition laws. This is the second time Google appeared on the radar of Korean antitrust regulators who already thoroughly investigated the company back in 2013. Back then, Google was cleared of all charges but industry experts suggest that the timing of this new investigation isn't coincidental and that Seoul has had enough of the company's requests for data it's been unwilling to give for years.