Wi-Fi data in Hong Kong
1. The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Mr.
Roderick B. Woo ("the Commissioner") sent to Google on 19 May a form of
containing assurances to be given by Google to the
Commissioner. The substantive contents of the Undertaking had
been mentioned by him to Google's Hong Kong representative at a meeting
held the day before. The Commissioner had requested Google to
sign the Undertaking by 24 May. So far, he has not received any
response, either verbally or in writing, from either Google Inc. in the
U.S.A. or its Hong Kong office as to whether it is prepared to give the
Undertaking in terms as drafted or in a modified form. Google has
to all effect and appearance ignored the request.
2. The Commissioner had earlier announced the
carrying out of a compliance check against Google's admitted wrongful
collection of the Wi-fi data which contained certain personal
data. He expressed disappointment at the lack of response from
Google as to its intention to remedy the situation and at Google's
failure to assuage the concern of the people of Hong Kong by signing
the Undertaking. He did not think it was the proper stance a
respectable international organization like Google should take.
He failed to detect any sign of willingness to cooperate in the matter
of the Undertaking.
3. Mr Woo said, "I am dismayed by Google's apparent
lack of sincerity in its handling of this matter. I am
particularly dissatisfied with the current status. I do not see
that Google is taking the matter seriously enough. Google says
time and again that maintaining people’s trust is crucial to everything
it does. However, when asked to sign a formal Undertaking which
in most parts repeats what it has said elsewhere, Google has been found
not forthcoming and less than cooperative. Yesterday I
chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee on Technological
Development and sought the advice of external experts and
professionals. Today I discussed this matter with some overseas
data protection authorities which are equally concerned about Google's
wrongful collection of personal data. Unless some remedial
measures are taken by Google promptly, I shall have to consider
escalating the situation and resort to more assertive action."