On July 13, 2011, Hong Kong’s Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment) Bill 2011 (the “Bill”), was introduced in the Legislative Council. Although the Bill has not yet been subject to an official vote, there have been several noteworthy developments.

Given the potential importance of the changes proposed in the Bill, in October 2011 the Legislative Council organized a Bill Committee to study the details of the proposals. The Bill Committee has been meeting twice or three times per month since November 2011.

In addition, the Hong Kong Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data has also been actively involved in the process. In November 2011, the Commissioner’s Office published remarks on the Bill indicating that the Office is satisfied that many of its comments were reflected in the Bill, but also identifying some practical implementation issues. Most important among the implementation issues are those that may arise with regard to (1) the collection and use of personal data in direct marketing, and (2) a proposal that would permit the sale of personal data under certain circumstances. In December 2011, after attending the Bill Committee’s second meeting, the Commissioner’s Office published a document providing additional information about its perspective on the Bill, again focusing on proposals regarding the protection of personal data in direct marketing and the sale of personal data.

The Bill Committee has scheduled meetings to discuss the Bill this month. At this time, it is not clear whether the Bill will be finalized in the near future. We will report on the final content of the Bill when it has passed.