Privacy Compliance Assessment Report on Smart Identity Card System issued today

30 July 2010

The Director of Immigration said today (July 30), "We welcome the Privacy Compliance Assessment (PCA) Report presented by the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data today. The Immigration Department has a good track record in protecting personal data under the Smart Identity Card System (SMARTICS). We are very pleased to learn that the Commissioner is satisfied that the Immigration Department has generally addressed the various requirements under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance and found that the department has appropriate policies, practices and guidance in place in handling and processing personal data.

"The Immigration Department attaches great importance to protecting personal data privacy. We welcome various recommendations made by the Privacy Commissioner on fine-tuning the relevant staff manuals, the strengthening of operational process and enhancing staff training. The department will endeavour to follow up and implement the recommendations with a view to enhancing the protection of personal data under SMARTICS. In response to the initial advice of the Commissioner's Office, the Immigration Department has already implemented certain enhancement measures, including the issuing of more detailed operational manuals for staff, optimising the operational processes and strengthening staff training."

An Immigration Department spokesman added that the assessment conducted by the Privacy Commissioner was the Government's initiative to ensure complete data privacy protection in the operation of SMARTICS.

The spokesman noted that, since the introduction of SMARTICS in 2003, the Immigration Department had endeavoured to put in place measures to ensure protection of personal data in various aspects. In the course of system design and initial implementation, the department had engaged outside consultants and conducted four privacy impact assessments. The relevant recommended privacy protection measures were fully implemented.

To ensure that the assessment was conducted in an independent manner and to delineate clearly the role of the Commissioner, a memorandum of understanding was reached between the department and the Commissioner's office to set out the work relationship. The assessment commenced in July 2009, and the report was presented by the Commissioner to the Immigration Department today.

The Commissioner's Office has only provided an English version of the PCA Report. The report was forwarded by the Government to the Legislative Council (LegCo) today and uploaded onto the Immigration Department homepage (www.immd.gov.hk). The department is arranging for a Chinese version for release to LegCo and the public.