Data hk is an online platform providing guidance and information regarding Hong Kong’s data protection laws and related regulations, and provides tools and services to assist businesses with complying with such laws and avoiding fines for noncompliance. Furthermore, Data hk also allows businesses to test their systems for compliance – something which cybersecurity threats and the increased need for comprehensive personal data protection have made a top priority among many business entities in recent years. Hence demand for compliance-related expertise will likely grow substantially over time in Hong Kong.

At first, it is vitally important to establish whether or not the individual seeking to transfer data qualifies as a ‘data user’. A data user refers to anyone who controls the collection, holding, processing and use of personal data – this can include companies as well as legal representatives and advisors who handle such personal information.

Considerations should also be given to the purposes and direct relevance of processing activities, specifically with regard to why personal data was initially collected. It is prohibited for data users to process personal data for purposes that do not align directly with why it was initially gathered; otherwise transferring or sharing such information requires receiving express permission from its subject matter.

Considerations should also include the level of data protection offered by foreign jurisdictions’ data protection laws and practices. If data exporter assessments reveal insufficient protection in these foreign jurisdictions, supplementary measures must be identified and adopted to bring transferred personal data up to standards required by PDPO; these could include technical measures (such as encryption, anonymisation or pseudonymisation) or contractual provisions with additional obligations such as audit, inspection reporting beach notification compliance support co-operation.

Final consideration should include the retention period of personal data transferred. While no specific maximum or uniform retention period has been prescribed under the PDPO, data users are encouraged to develop clear retention policies with legal compliance in mind.

Potentially, Hong Kong could amend their current PDPO to incorporate an expansive definition of personal data that mirrors GDPR’s. If this were to happen, a much greater pool of personal data would need to be protected requiring companies utilizing data-related technologies to put into place more stringent compliance measures around six DPPs and cross-border transfers of personal data. It’s likely compliance costs in Hong Kong would rise significantly but preemptive compliance costs far less than responding to data breach incidents; ultimately benefitting all stakeholders involved.

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