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Hong Kong Introduces a New Personal Data (Privacy) Amendment Bill

The Personal Data (Privacy) Amendment Bill (the “Bill”) was introduced into the Legislative Council on 13 July 2011. The Bill is the culmination of a lengthy consultation process into the reform of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) which commenced in 2009. The Bill aims to bring the Ordinance in line with technological and other advancements that have occurred since the Ordinance was enacted 15 years ago, and is in part a response to the mounting public concern in relation to a number of high profile instances of misuse of personal data in Hong Kong.

The most significant amendments relate to direct marketing and the sale of personal information, data processing and the powers of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (the “Privacy Commissioner”). The Bill also introduces increased penalties for breaches of the Ordinance. These key amendments are discussed below.

There is no precise timeframe for the implementation of the Bill at this stage (as the Bill still has to be debated further by the Legislative Council after the summer recess, before passing to the committee stage and undergoing a final reading).

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