responds to the proposal of installing CCTVs at Mong Kok Pedestrian
1. Corrosive liquid falling from a height has
happened again in Mong Kok Pedestrian Precinct (“MKPP”) recently.
To prevent recurrence of similar incident, the community requests to
have CCTVs installed in the district as soon as possible. The
following is the response of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal
Data, Mr. Roderick B. Woo to the matter.
2. After the incident of corrosive liquid falling
from a height in MKPP on 13 December 2008, Yau Tsim Mong District
Council has consulted the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for
Personal Data (“PCPD”) on privacy related matter on the installation of
CCTVs in MKPP on 22 December 2008. PCPD replied on the same day
that it had no objection in principle and advised Yau Tsim Mong
District Council to comply with the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance
(“the Ordinance”) when installing CCTVs.
3. On 23 January 2009, Yau Tsim Mong District Council
made enquiries to PCPD on the draft of “Operational Guidelines in
relation to the installation of CCTV in Mong Kok Pedestrian
Precinct”. A written reply was sent to Yau Tsim Mong District
Council on 9 February.
4. According to the Ordinance, “personal data” are
any data relating to a living individual; being recorded in a form that
can be processed or accessed; and from which the identity of the
individual to be directly or indirectly ascertained. Generally
speaking, to constitute an act of collection of personal data by the
data user, there should be compilation of information about an
identified individual, or an individual whose identity the data user
intends or seeks to identify. The data collected have to be an
item of the personal data of an identified individual. The data
user regards the data collected as important information of the individual.
5. In general, if a CCTV is installed in a public
place merely for security purpose, it may not constitute collection of
personal data (unless the data of a certain or some particular
individuals are collected) and may not be governed by the
Ordinance. However, collection of personal data may take place
under some special circumstances. For example, after a particular
incident has happened, the Authority concerned may need to review the
video records for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of the
individuals involved in the incident and it may then amount to
collection of personal data. Therefore, organizations which
intend to install CCTVs should, at least, post a notice in a prominent
position near the installation, stating that the area is being
monitored, the purposes of monitoring, as well as how the records will
6. PCPD’s stance towards the use of CCTVs in public
place is that a proper balance should be struck between the protection
of public interests and personal data privacy. Data users should
handle the issue in a fair and transparent manner giving due regards to
the rights of personal data privacy.