Data Privacy Hong Kong Style

Flag of Hong Kong Stiff penalties include fines up to HK$50,000 and up to 2 years jail.

After a significant set of new regulations were enacted in October of 2012, two new amendments came into force on April 1, 2013. Both of the new amendments specify added restrictions against the use and provisioning of personal data in direct marketing activities. Additionally, the legislation confers new levels of authority on the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (“PCPD”) in Hong Kong, and calls for the PCPD to provide legal assistance to individuals making claims in civil proceedings.

Stiff penalties apply when the data user does not comply with warnings and enforcement notices from the PCPD, including fines of up to HK$50,000 and imprisonment for up to 2 years. Although Hong Kong is still an “opt-out” market, there is considerable confusion in the business community due to workshops put on by the office of the PCPD stating that all data owners should operate as though the law is “opt-in”.

Hong Kong has always been a vibrant, data-rich market, but these changes have produced a significant chill to the otherwise hot business climate. A number of data collectors in the region have already gotten completely out of the business, while those that remain are scrambling to ensure compliance. High quality marketing data in the region was never inexpensive, and these changes and the decrease in the number of available data sources will continue to drive prices upward. For more information about direct marketing limitations in Hong Kong, please contact us.