Suspected theft of personal data held by Immigration Department

5 Sept 2014

The Immigration Department said today (September 5) that anonymous letters were received containing Immigration Department's documents with personal data therein. Following initial investigation by the Immigration Department, there is no indication of further leak of such data so far. As theft is suspected, the case has been referred to the police for follow-up and the department will fully support the investigation.

An Immigration Department spokesman said, "A special task force headed by an Assistant Director of Immigration has been formed to carry out an internal investigation into the incident instantly. In the meantime, internal security and security management of all personal data has also been stepped up to prevent the recurrence of such incident. Meanwhile, the department has reminded its front line staff to strictly adhere to the departmental working guidelines to ensure the proper handling and protection of personal data. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) has also been notified of the incident and data subjects involved have been arranged to be informed accordingly."

"The Immigration Department attaches great importance to security of personal data, and has laid down clear internal guidelines and control mechanism to ensure that personal data is kept in compliance with the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance and other relevant laws and ordinances. Staff is also regularly reminded to adhere to the relevant guidelines and provisions. If the incident involves any negligence or mishandling, we will treat it in a serious manner. While this case is believed to be an isolated incident, the department will review the existing security of the personal data as advised by the special task force and ensure effective protection of the personal data collected," the spokesman reiterated.