The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (PCPD) for Personal Data has launched an SME privacy protection campaign in conjunction with members of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA) to coincide with Privacy Awareness Week 2018.
The PCPD is seeking to raise awareness of the importance of fostering a culture of protecting and respecting personal data among companies, organisations and members of the public.
At the Privacy Awareness Week Inauguration Ceremony on Tuesday, privacy commissioner Stephen Kai-yi Wong and legislative council member Jeffrey Lam launched the Privacy Campaign for SMEs.
Speaking at the ceremony, Lam said cyberattacks are borderless and are becoming more frequent and threatening as adversaries become more determined.
“However, due to limited resources, SMEs may not have sufficient knowledge on the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO). The PCPD therefore plays a pivotal role in the areas of promotion and education,” he said.
“I am very glad that the PCPD organises the yearly PAW. With support from many chambers of commerce this year, the office also hosts the SME Privacy Protection Campaign. Through publicity and education, the office is able to raise public awareness of protecting and respecting personal data in the community, especially among SMEs.”
Wong meanwhile noted that there are currently around 330,000 SMEs in Hong Kong, constituting over 90% of business establishments in the city.
“This shows that SMEs are the pillar and driving force of Hong Kong's economic development. At the same time, they handle vast amounts of personal data in their business operations,” he said.
“With the ever-rising expectations of customers and members of the public with regard to protection of their personal data, SMEs should proactively protect personal data privacy to gain customers’ trust, so as to enhance their corporate reputation, competitive advantage and potential business opportunities.”
For this year's Privacy Awareness Week, the PCPD is holding various publicity and educational activities to disseminate messages on personal data privacy protection.
The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect on the 25th of this month. Wong said local businesses have to prepare to comply with the GDPR’s requirements.
“It will be more stringent for businesses and enterprises in Hong Kong if they provide services or goods to residents of the European Union. The Regulation sets out clearly what is expected of in the enterprises including data controllers and data processes in dealing with personal data,” he said. “We should bring it to the attention to the organizations and enterprises in Hong Kong.”
Asked if the PCPD will review the existing Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO) to be in line with the GDPR, Wong said the PCPD will keep abreast of the global economy and personal data privacy development.
“It is our statutory duty to keep reviewing the Ordinance for legislation because we have to be alert, observant about the changes in times of this digital age or data driven economy,” he said. “If there is an opportunity for us to propose certain fit and proper amendments to the Ordinance, we will do so.”
The PCPD issued a booklet in March, which aims at raising awareness amongst organizations or businesses in Hong Kong of the possible impact of the new regulatory framework for data protection in the European Union.
APPA is the principal forum for privacy authorities in the Asia Pacific Region to form partnerships and exchange ideas on privacy regulation, new technologies and the enforcement actions. It currently has 20 members including the PCPD.