Press Releases

SCMA answers media question on privacy protection

     The following is the transcript of the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam's answer to a media question after attending the Privacy Awareness Week 2008 Inauguration Ceremony this afternoon (August 25):

Reporter: Mr Lam, what work is actually being done in reviewing the Ordinance? Also, has the Privacy Commissioner submitted a proposal?

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: At the end of last year, the Privacy Commissioner and his colleagues provided us with a detailed report on various areas of the Ordinance which he would like to be reviewed and amended. There are some very important principles involved. For example, there is a suggestion that the power for initiating prosecutions under the Ordinance could be vested in the Privacy Commissioner. But, under the Basic Law, criminal prosecutions are controlled by the Department of Justice without interference from anyone. So in conducting the Ordinance’s review, we need to ensure that we abide by the Basic Law. There are also proposals that perhaps we should consider increasing the penalties for offences under the Ordinance. We must make sure that the penalties are proportionate to the protection which we want to give to privacy, and which also would have a sufficient deterrent effect. So these are some of the aspects which we need to take into account, some of the principles which we have to abide by in conducting the review. We intend to take forward this review during the term of the fourth Legislative Council.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Monday, August 25, 2008