Hong Kong Privacy Office Hands Down First-of-a-Kind Conviction

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By Jimmy H. Koo

• First-of-its-kind conviction for violation of Hong Kong privacy ordinance

• Director of company under investigation ignored requests for information

Failure to respond to the Hong Kong privacy office’s summons resulted in first-of-a-kind conviction under its privacy law, the office announced June 30.

The regulator fined an unnamed director of an unidentified employment agency HK$3,000 ($384) for ignoring a summons stemming from allegations the company transferred consumer data without consent, the office said.

“Parties involved in a complaint should fully cooperate with our office and provide all required information for investigation as expeditiously as possible,” Privacy Commissioner Stephen Kai-yi Wong said in a statement.

Under Hong Kong’s over two decade old Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, a person who fails to comply with “any lawful requirement of the Commissioner” without an excuse faces fines of up to HK$10,000 ($1,280) and up to six months in prison.

According to the privacy commissioner’s office, in July 2014 the complainant approached the employment agency to recruit a “foreign domestic helper” and provided his personal data. In November 2014, the complainant alleged that the employment agency had transferred his personal data to a third party without his consent.

The regulator said that it repeatedly asked the employment agency to provide the information. Failing to get a reply, the office issued a summons to the director of the employment agency. When the director failed to come to the office, the privacy commissioner referred the case to law enforcement authorities, the office said.

By Jimmy H. Koo

To contact the reporter on this story: Jimmy H. Koo in Washington at jkoo@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Donald Aplin at daplin@bna.com

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