Data dangers: web users urged to be vigilant about their personal data

16 February 2017

Simon Deane, partner, was interviewed by the South China Morning post in an article urging web users to be more vigilant about their personal data.

The South China Morning Post reports that in 2016, 112 cases were passed on to the police for criminal investigation by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data. Of those, only three cases resulted in convictions. The Privacy Commissioner Stephen Wong Kai-yi has subsequently urged consumers to step up their efforts to self-regulate.

Simon said that Hong Kong’s privacy laws were generally speaking acceptable, but he did not always agree with the way the commissioner was applying the laws.

He said, for example, that sometimes the privacy commissioner appeared to be relying upon legal concepts based on European or possibly Australian law to emphasise an individual’s right to privacy (such as an individual’s “reasonable expectation of privacy”), particularly in relation to personal data that is lawfully in the public domain, even though these laws do not apply in Hong Kong.

“It is not so much the law, it is the agencies that are perhaps overstepping the mark,” he said.

“My feeling is, if information is lawfully publicly available, such as when it appears on a government register or in judicial publications, then that means it is public and no one should expect it not to be available to everybody,” he concluded.

Please click here to read the article.