Data has become an indispensable asset in today’s digital economy, playing an increasingly key role in economic success. An automaker cannot manufacture autonomous cars without using data for feed into onboard algorithms – hence why having effective data management practices and systems are of such great importance – yet many organizations struggle with doing this effectively, particularly those operating within Hong Kong where stringent privacy regulations are in effect.
The PDPO defines personal data as any information pertaining to an identified or identifiable living individual that allows him/her to be directly or indirectly identified. This definition conforms with international norms, as reflected by other legislative regimes like China’s Personal Data Protection Law or EU General Data Protection Regulation.
One of the key requirements under the PDPO is for data users to provide data subjects with information regarding their personal data upon or prior to its collection, which is often a common requirement across data protection regimes. Furthermore, under this law data users must use contractual or other means to protect any processed data against unauthorised or accidental access, processing, erasure, loss or use and not retain it longer than necessary for its processing purpose.
Under law, it is also required that data users obtain consent before collecting personal data from individuals. There may be exceptions to this rule; for example, an individual might give his/her consent for specific reasons (like attending a concert). Furthermore, some forms of data could also be considered collected by law enforcement for criminal investigations or security measures.
As well as its core obligations, the PDPO contains various other provisions designed to safeguard individuals’ personal data. These include rules regarding disclosure and transfer outside Hong Kong as well as penalties imposed for breaches. Furthermore, penalties may be issued by Hong Kong’s data protection regulator in case any regulations are broken.
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