Hong Kong’s Data Protection Law – The PDPO

HK is a common abbreviation for Hong Kong, the former British colony and current special administrative region of China. The territory is considered a global hub of technology and innovation, but it also has a reputation for data protection lag and a lack of transparency in its use of personal information. Several initiatives are underway to improve data governance and raise standards in Hong Kong.

The PDPO imposes a number of requirements on data users, including that they expressly inform the data subject on or before collection of their personal data of the purposes for which their personal information will be used and the classes of persons to whom their personal information may be transferred. This step is markedly less onerous than under GDPR, which requires that the personal data subject be informed of these details in writing.

In addition, the PDPO requires that a data user not publicly display or make available the combination of an individual’s name and HKID number without their consent. The combined data should only be displayed or made available to those who need it for the purpose for which it was collected, and it should be securely stored in accordance with other data protection principles. This is to ensure that the HKID number can be linked to the individual’s name and other information about them, such as bank accounts or passport records.

Aside from this, the PDPO imposes a range of other requirements on data users, including that they obtain the written consent of the data subject before using their personal information for marketing purposes. This requirement is similar to GDPR, although the PDPO provides a longer list of possible legitimate purposes for which an individual’s personal information can be used.

Data users must also comply with other provisions of the PDPO, such as those on the handling of sensitive personal data and on the destruction of personal data. In addition, the PDPO requires that data subjects be given the right to access to their personal information and request corrections or deletions of any inaccurate, incomplete or out-of-date personal information.

In order to improve its ranking, Hong Kong must further develop a strong open data culture and create a more data-centric economy, where the public has ready and free access to accurate and complete information. In doing so, the city will be able to better serve its residents and businesses by providing them with the tools they need to make informed decisions. This will help to boost the economy, attract and retain talent and improve services for residents and visitors alike. This in turn will increase the quality of life for citizens and foster a competitive advantage for businesses in Hong Kong. In addition, it will help to make the city more attractive for investors. This will lead to economic prosperity for all Hong Kongers, a goal that can be achieved by taking a pragmatic approach to open data.