Date: 8 October 2021
The Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 Takes Effect Today to Criminalise Doxxing Acts
The Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 (Amendment Ordinance) was published in the gazette and came into effect today (8 October) to combat doxxing acts that are intrusive to personal data privacy. The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (Privacy Commissioner), Ms Ada CHUNG Lai-ling welcomed the commencement of operation of the Amendment Ordinance.
The objectives of the Amendment Ordinance include the criminalisation of doxxing acts, empowering the Privacy Commissioner to carry out criminal investigations and institute prosecutions for doxxing and related offences, and conferring on the Privacy Commissioner statutory powers to demand the cessation of disclosure of doxxing messages.
The Privacy Commissioner said, “Doxxing acts have become rampant and personal data has been weaponised in recent years. Under the Amendment Ordinance, doxxing offences are clearly defined and target-specific. Everyone should think twice before publishing or re-posting any message that appears to be related to doxxing on the internet or social media. Doxxing is a criminal offence, don’t break the law.”
Pursuant to the Amendment Ordinance, anyone who discloses the personal data of another person without consent, whether recklessly or with intent to cause specified harm to the person or his or her family, such as harassment, molestation, pestering, threat, intimidation, bodily or psychological harm or damage to property, commits the offence of doxxing.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) has published the Implementation Guideline for the Amendment Ordinance (https://www.pcpd.org.hk/english/doxxing/files/GN_PDPAO_e.pdf
) in the gazette today for public information. The ranks of officers authorised to carry out the relevant criminal investigation and prosecution functions are also published.
The PCPD has set up a hotline (3423 6666) to handle enquiries or complaints relating to doxxing. The PCPD will also launch a series of publicity and educational campaigns to enhance the public awareness of and compliance with the Amendment Ordinance, including broadcasting TV and radio announcements, distributing promotional leaflets and posters, organising webinars, and promoting the new provisions on social media platforms. For details of the Amendment Ordinance, members of the public can make enquiries vide the hotline, or visit the PCPD’s “Doxxing Offences” webpage (https://www.pcpd.org.hk/english/doxxing/index.html