(14 July 2017) The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong (“Privacy Commissioner”) Mr Stephen Kai-yi WONG welcomed the passing of the Apology Bill by the Legislative Council yesterday (13 July).
Mr Wong said, “The enactment of the Apology Ordinance will generally help to protect persons who wish to make an apology without fear of attracting legal liability. In the handling of complaints involving personal data privacy, the parties being complained against (“PCAs”) may become more willing to make an apology on, which helps ease the tension between the affected data subjects and the PCAs, and hence mitigate the damage to the data subjects. The legislation also generally facilitates and promotes conciliation of disputes by other means such as mediation. By making apologies, the PCAs are usually more co-operative and willing to accept the PCPD’s recommendations and take appropriate remedial measures in a positive manner.”
Having regard to past data breach cases involving government departments or public bodies, for those that made apologies, they also took prompt actions to mitigate the damages and took proactive steps toward data protection without delay.
The Privacy Commissioner believed that the enforcement of the Apology Ordinance will encourage the PCAs to become more willing to make apologies to the data subjects involved for infringement of their privacy rights, which generally facilitates and promotes conciliation of disputes.