Hong Kong: 1 in 8 Hong Kong Individuals Affected by a Data Breach in 2015

On 26 January, Hong Kong's Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (the "Commissioner") published his annual report on 2015 complaints and enforcement activity under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (the "PDPO").

The report reveals that 871,000 Hong Kong individuals were affected by data breaches in 2015, compared with 47,000 in 2014. The 98 incidents reported to the Commissioner last year (an increase from 70 the previous year) all involved the loss of data, hacking of data or the inadvertent disclosure of personal data by organisations. It is noteworthy that the number of reported breaches continues to increase at a rapid pace notwithstanding the fact that Hong Kong's data breach notification regime is at the moment a voluntary one.

The report is also notable for setting out the Commissioner's statement of priorities for 2016. Of particular significance is the suggestion that the PDPO - which came into force 20 years ago - may now need to be updated to keep pace with Hong Kong's role as an international business centre and with regulatory developments across the world.

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