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does not produce an absurd or impractical result, bearing in mind that the

primary purpose of the Ordinance is to protect individuals’ right to privacy

in relation to their personal data. When in doubt, he is inclined to take the

line which results in providing such protection.


The Commissioner will attempt to apply a consistent interpretation in

dealing with complaints and enquiries. However, the Commissioner may

find it necessary to reconsider a stance he has previously adopted in light

of his regulatory experience and changes in circumstances.


circumstances may include amendments to the Ordinance; the possibility

that an interpretation previously adopted may later be shown to be

erroneous or incomplete by the Court or the AAB; views of judicial

authorities; and developments in the handling and processing of personal

data and social values.



Statements made or views expressed in this Book are intended for

reference only. They shall not give rise to any liability on the part of the

Commissioner nor to any defence or estoppel of any kind in proceedings

involving the Commissioner. They shall not bind the Commissioner in the

exercise of his statutory functions in any way. Readers are urged to exercise

independent judgment on the interpretation of the data protection

principles in any given situation and, where appropriate, to seek

professional advice.

Abbreviations Used in This Book


“AAB” means the Administrative Appeals Board established under section 5

of the Administrative Appeals Board Ordinance (Cap 442, Laws of Hong


“Amendment Ordinance” means the Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment)

Ordinance 2012.

“Book” means this book.

“Commissioner” means the office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal

Data established under section 5(1) of the Personal Data (Privacy)

Ordinance (Cap 486, Laws of Hong Kong) in general and where the

context otherwise permits, also means and includes the person appointed

by the Chief Executive under section 5(3).

“DPP” means data protection principle(s).

“Eastweek case” means the case of Eastweek Publisher Limited & Another

v Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data [2000] 2 HKLRD 83.