• Hong Kong Strengthens Its Personal Data Privacy Laws and Imposes Criminal Penalties on Direct Marketing
  • May 16, 2013 | Authors: Anita Leung; Mauricio F. Paez
  • Law Firms: Jones Day - Hong Kong Office ; Jones Day - New York Office
  • In 2012 Hong Kong introduced the Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment) Ordinance (the "Amendments" ) to, amongst other things, strengthen restrictions on the use of personal data for direct marketing purposes. The Amendments modify Hong Kong’s 1997 Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (the "PDPO"), and effective April 1, 2013, (i) generally prohibit the disclosure of personal data without the consent of the individual from whom such data was collected ("Data Subject"), (ii) increase the Privacy Commissioner's enforcement powers under the PDPO, (iii) grant greater data access rights to Data Subjects, (iv) further regulate processing of personal data in outsourcing, and (v) include new exemptions to allow the use, disclosure and/or transfer of personal data in specified circumstances without contravening the Amendments. Notably, the Amendments also permit legal assistance in relation to claims made under the PDPO, criminalize disclosure of personal data for commercial gain and without consent, and impose certain restrictions and obligations concerning the outsourcing of data processing to third parties, some of which were put into operation in October 2012.