Data Handling in Hong Kong

Data management practices have become an essential component of digital economy. Much like an automaker needs money to produce cars, a company no longer functions effectively without access to enough information for processing its digital products and services. Strong data management practices are vitally important to any successful enterprise’s growth and survival.

Implementing data hk can be challenging. With new sources and growing volumes of information being generated daily, companies often face difficulty managing it in an effective and secure way – becoming ever more important as we rely more heavily on digital platforms to access our information quickly and safely.

Hong Kong law offers some much-needed guidance and clarity to address these challenges, with its Personal Data Protection Ordinance (PDPO) mandating obligations on any person collecting personal data on Hong Kong territory.

These obligations primarily focus around DPP1 (Purpose and Collection of Personal Data) and DPP3 (Use of Personal Data). A person must comply with these obligations if he controls the collection, holding, processing or transference of personal data in or from Hong Kong – this includes those who transfer it out.

The PDPO broadly defines “personal data” to include any information that identifies an individual, or can be used to do so, which is consistent with other legislative regimes such as China’s Personal Information Protection Law (“PIPL”) and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).

Before collecting personal data, an individual must establish a valid reason and articulate it in a Personal Information Collection Statement (“PICS”). This PICS should then be provided to the data subject before collecting said personal data and contain details on which classes of people it may be transferred to as well as how its use will benefit those individuals.

However, there are exceptions to use limitations and PICS requirements, including (i) safeguarding Hong Kong’s national security, defense and international relations; crime prevention/detection activities; tax or duty assessments; the provision of news activities; or life-threatening emergency situations.

The PDPO stipulates that individuals may only transfer personal data outside the territory for legitimate and specific purposes, thus striking a balance between data transfers and protecting personal data. Furthermore, any person failing to abide by this requirement faces a penalty that falls between what would be expected under PIPL and GDPR penalties and enforceability penalties.