Failures to forbid the sell-out of privacy:The government is to blame
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner disclosed that, in the past two years, the Hong Kong Preventive Association Limited had elicited the personal data of 360,000 citizens, including their names, residential addresses, phone numbers and identity card numbers, through telemarketing that was said to offer the clients free medical check-up service.
The data collected was sold to insurance companies for direct marketing purposes without the consent of the clients. This is a severe case of privacy invasion, involving not only the sale of personal data for profit, but also the allegation that the association had misled the clients by pretending to be a government agency. The repeated failures to forbid the sell-out of personal privacy and the difficulty in intercepting the leakage of data from the source will definitely lead to long-term damage to the citizens.
Surely, the government has in recent years frequently amended the laws to protect citizens' privacy. But the problem is whether the new laws are appropriate measures or just empty shells. For instance, the "Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance" implemented in 2007, which strengthened the regulation of pre-recorded telemarketing calls, did not include real-time person-to-person calls. This has given rise in recent years to the competition among business organizations in live calls telemarketing . On the other hand, the newly implemented privacy ordinance is riddled with exemption clauses which allow business organizations to keep on using personal data collected for telemarketing activities by just issuing a Notice of No Objection to their clients.
Every new law is accompanied by a disadvantage. And this is the best reflection of the government's handling of privacy problem. Seemingly, consistent and minor amendments to ordinances would close a loophole in privacy invasion. However, they also leave another flaw which continues to create opportunities for the black sheep in the industry. The government's lack of comprehensive considerations during the legislation process is the real cause of the sell-out of citizens' privacy.
repeated failures to forbid：屢禁不止