Reporting to the Privacy Commissioner about privacy violations against journalists

The Hong Kong Journalists Association has received a number of reports from journalists that they have been violated by police officers during reporting. The association met with the Personal Data Privacy Commissioner Stephen Kai-yi Wong today to reflect the industry’s worries and conditions, including police officers showing the personal data on the spot to third parties when they were checking reporters’ identity document; police officers use video recordings when checking identity documents without any explanation. Also, some people upload information about journalists to the internet without their consent.


Kai-yi Wong reiterated that the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance has exemptions that take into account freedom of the press. The regulations require anyone to collect personal data in a fair manner and notify the data subject. Wong stated that police officers should not arbitrarily collect personal data if there is no reasonable reason. And “The Data Protection Principle 1” also pointed out that the method of collecting data must be legal and fair. The meeting also discussed the inadequate of the existing ordinances and the possibility of future legislative amendments.


HKJA calls on police officers not to transfer the collected information to third parties. We also reiterated that the Commissioner of Police, Chris Tang Ping-keung, to strictly urge frontline police officers to clearly understand the requirements of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, and conduct stop and search actions only when there is reasonable need and in respectful and fair methods.

Hong Kong Journalists Association

17 March 2020

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