Complaint & Enquiry Cases
Notes on Complaint & Enquiry Cases related
to Personal Information Collection Statement (PICS)
Whether access right under Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance displaced by similar access right under statute establishing public register
Q: We are a government department and process a certain class of applications from the public. Some details of the application would be disclosed and available for inspection in a public register. The applicants also have a right to access and correct the content of the public register pursuant to provisions in the Ordinance empowering the establishment of the public register ("the empowering statute"). We want to avoid the impression that an individual has a right under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance ("the Ordinance") to access and correct personal data supplied in the applications in addition to the access and correct rights already allowed under the empowering statute. Are we entitled to abridge the Personal Information Collection Statement to be included in the application forms to avoid that impression?
A: In your letter, you mentioned that the empowering statute already contains legislative provisions for accessing and correcting data kept on the relevant public register. For that reason, you apparently think that individual applicants do not have the separate rights to access and correct personal data under the Ordinance, which are in addition to what the public register system already allows.
However, our view in this regard is different. In particular, insofar as your department may be a data user within the meaning of the Ordinance in respect of the personal data of individual applicants, there will be the rights under the Ordinance on the part of such applicants to access and correct their personal data. Such rights are created and governed by the Ordinance, and are separate from, and not in any way limited by, any right of access to or correction of data which may be conferred under another statute.
Data protection principle 1(3) in Schedule I to the Ordinance requires a data user to inform an applicant of his rights to access to and to request the correction of his personal data under the Ordinance. Accordingly, you are not entitled to abridge that information from the Personal Information Collection Statement to be included in the application forms.
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