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Inside Privacy Updates on Developments in Global Privacy & Data Security from Covington & Burling LLP

Hong Kong Moves Closer to New Privacy Amendment

Posted in China, International, Marketing

On July 13, the Personal Data (Amendment) Bill 2011 was introduced to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council for final approval.  The Bill, which is designed to implement the recommendations of a April 2011 government report on privacy reform, aims to address a spate of recent concerns about the prevalence of direct marketing-related data sales and transfers in Hong Kong’s private sector.

If the Bill passes the Legislative Council, companies in Hong Kong wishing to make data transfers for direct marketing purposes will be required to furnish data subjects with information relating to (i) the types of data that will be transferred; (ii) the types of person who would receive such data; and (iii) the purposes of the proposed transfer (including what types of goods and services could be advertised).  Data subjects will then be entitled to object to such transfers for up to 30 days after receiving notice of the pending transfer.  If a “data user” proceeds to make a transfer despite receiving an objection within the 30 day period, they could become liable under the new law to a fine of $500,000 HKD and up to three years imprisonment.  The bill will also empower the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data to provide technical assistance to aggrieved data subjects if they seek legal redress against companies who breach the new provisions.  

On July 13 the Personal Data (Amendment) Bill 2011 was introduced to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council for final approval.  The Bill, which is designed to implement the recommendations of a April 2011 government report on privacy reform, aims to address a spate of recent concerns about the prevalence of direct marketing-related data sales and transfers in Hong Kong’s private sector.

If the Bill passes the Legislative Council, companies in Hong Kong wishing to make data transfers for direct marketing purposes will be required to furnish data subjects with information relating to (i) the types of data that will be transferred; (ii) the types of person who would receive such data; and (iii) the purposes of the proposed transfer (including what types of goods and services could be advertised).  Data subjects will then be entitled to object to such transfers for up to 30 days after receiving notice of the pending transfer.  If a “data user” proceeds to make a transfer despite receiving an objection within the 30 day period, they could become liable under the new law to a fine of $500,000 HKD and up to three years imprisonment.  The bill will also empower the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data to provide technical assistance to aggrieved data subjects if they seek legal redress against companies who breach the new provisions.