1. The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data ("the Commissioner") Roderick B.Woo welcomes the launch of a public consultation on the Review of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance ("the Ordinance") by the Government today.
2. Woo said, "My colleagues and I have been undertaking a review of the Ordinance for quite some time. We presented to the Government a bundle of proposals at the end of 2007. Since then my Office has been assisting the Government with our regulatory experience and research in preparing this public consultation."
3. "I would like to see the Ordinance brought up to date so that it provides stronger protection to the Hong Kong people in the new electronic era. The change must avoid placing unnecessary burdens on the commercial sector but should operate effectively to protect the individual’s personal data privacy."
4. Woo added, that "Personal data privacy has become a fundamental right in our society, but there is a need to balance that right with other rights and social interests in maintaining a harmonious society."
5. The Government has recognized the effort made by the Commissioner's Office and included it as one of the new initiatives in investing for a caring society in the 2008-09 Policy Address – to review the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance to examine whether the Ordinance can afford adequate protection to personal data having regard to developments, including advancement in technology, in the last decade, and consult the public on the review findings.
6. "No meaningful review of the Ordinance can be achieved without the participation of the public. I therefore call on the people of Hong Kong to be concerned with the consultation and provide their comments freely." Woo said.
7. The Commissioner aims to achieve the following missions:
(a) to address issues of public concern;
(b) to safeguard personal data privacy rights while protecting public interest;
(c) to enhance the efficacy of regulation under the Ordinance;
(d) to harness matters that will have significant privacy impact;
(e) to deal with technical and necessary amendments.
8. In the course of the review, the Commissioner has taken the following factors into consideration:
(a) the sufficiency of protection and the proportionality of penal sanction under the Ordinance;
(b) the development of international privacy laws and standards since the operation of the Ordinance;
(c) the regulatory experience of the Commissioner gained in the course of discharging his functions and powers;
(d) the difficulties encountered in the application of certain provisions of the Ordinance;
(e) the technological development in an electronic age facilitating the collection, holding and processing of personal data in massive quantum at a low cost;
(f) the development of biometric technology for the identification of an individual posing challenges to the maintenance of individuals' privacy; and
(g) the vulnerability of individuals in becoming less able to control and determine the collection, use and security of his personal data stored and transmitted through electronic means.
10. Members of the public are welcome to forward their views and comments on or before 30 November 2009 to the CMAB by post (Team 4, Room 364, East Wing, Central Government Offices, Lower Albert Road, Hong Kong), by fax (2523 0565) or via email (email@example.com)