on Activities - Privacy- Related Issues
to Specific Privacy-related Issues
proposal to install CCTV systems in public
early 2002, the Police revealed a plan to
install CCTV cameras in various public places.
The purpose of so doing was to assist with
crowd control and the prevention of crime.
The plan is to introduce, as a pilot scheme,
the installation of CCTV cameras in the
Lan Kwai Fong area of Central District by
announcement attracted considerable concern
from various sectors of the community. There
are particular concerns about the apparent
lack of regulation on the use of CCTV cameras,
the retention and use of videotaped records
and the potential intrusion to privacy in
places to which the public have largely
free and unrestricted access.
the announcement of the CCTV installation
plan by the Police, the PCPD took the initiative
to write to the Commissioner of Police seeking
further information regarding the plan.
Subsequently, the Police advised that the
plan was part of a public safety and security
management system for the purpose of ensuring
Hong Kong remained as one of the world's
safest and most stable societies. The deployment
of CCTV systems in the pilot scheme at Lan
Kwai Fong will serve the primary purpose
of enhancing and facilitating public safety
and crowd management.
important aspect of the PD(P)O is the requirement
that relates to the "collection"
principle. This requires that personal data
shall be collected for a lawful purpose
directly related to a function of the data
user, that the collection of the data is
necessary and that the data are collected
by means that are lawful and fair in the
circumstances of the case. In the context
of the CCTV monitoring scheme, the PCPD advised
the Police to give due consideration to
this particular requirement of the PD(P)O.
Hong Kong, surveillance cameras have been
widely deployed in public places for many
years. Common examples would be transportation
facilities, car parks and shopping malls.
In order to investigate Hong Kong citizens'
attitudes towards the operation of video
surveillance cameras in public places, the
PCPD commissioned a research study in January
2002. In particular the PCPD are interested
in the extent to which there is awareness
and acceptance of video cameras in public
places for security and other bona fide
purposes. If there is general acceptance
of the benefits of surveillance cameras
in public places then the research will
investigate whether recording and retaining
the image of people, e.g. motorists exiting
a car park, in any way modifies the attitudes
expressed because of the privacy-related
issues involved. The study will also research
overseas experiences regarding the handling
of privacy issues when operating video surveillance
in public places.
Financial Industry's Proposal on the sharing
of Consumer Positive Credit Data
the past few years, changes in the domestic
and external economic environment have adversely
impacted upon the financial services sector
of the Hong Kong economy. The situation
facing banks, credit card issuers and other
licensed bodies providing lines of credit
is that the default rate on loans and credit
card spending has risen significantly. There
has also been an increase both in the number
of cases of multiple delinquencies among
borrowers and the number of bankruptcy cases.
While there are probably many reasons for
these developments, financial regulators
and the financial industry have interpreted
these trends as signaling a need for more
vigorous credit assessment methodologies
in consumer lending.
January 2002, the Government convened a
high-level Roundtable Discussion among industry
representatives and government officials
to discuss measures necessary to tackle
the issues of consumer debt and bankruptcy.
These discussions have resulted in a set
of proposals seeking to extend the scope
of consumer credit data to be shared by
credit providers. The arguments advanced
by the industry are that access to, and
the use of, positive credit data of borrowers
would enable credit providers to better
understand the total credit exposure of
their clients. This information would also
assist credit providers in making more informed
decisions about current and future lending.
advocates and the public expressed great
concern over the proposal. They are concerned
with the potential risk of unauthorized
disclosure of their personal information
to others for purposes unrelated to credit
assessment, such as general insurers, real
estate agents or even their employers. Others
are concerned with the potential loss of
protection of their personal information.
The majority of credit users, who are responsible
in managing their personal affairs, view
the proposal as illogical in that it requires
them to release more private information
to compensate for the malpractice of a minority
of irresponsible credit users.
industry's proposal, if implemented, amounts
to a relaxation of the provisions of the
current Code of Practice on Consumer Credit
Data to allow for a greater sharing of positive
credit data via the credit reference agency.
If there were to be any relaxation of the
provisions of the current Code then any
changes could only be made under the protection
of safeguards which place explicit constraints
on the collection, use and security of positive
credit data by credit providers and the
credit reference agency. In this respect,
the PCPD has decided and is in the course
of developing a consultation document on
the privacy issues related to the proposal.