I have recently passed on the concerns expressed by the Personal Data Privacy Commissioner (“the Commissioner”) in Hong Kong about the doxxing for personal harassment purposes of personal data details of police officers on the social media networks. The details have included full names, ranks, residential addresses, wives’ personal names, children’s names, schools attended by children etc.
The Commissioner and the Hong Kong Government are looking into possibilities of legislative remedy to avert this activity. Now the Office of the Commissioner has issued a further media statement relating to complaints received by him about the expanded disclosure by way of both pictures and postings on online social media platforms of the car registration numbers of police officers. In his media statement the Commissioner condemns these disclosures for the purposes of doxxing. The Commissioner confirms that these doxxing activities involve disclosure of personal data of data subjects without the consent of the data subjects for the purposes of harassment and intimidation. This causes psychological harm to the data subjects and amounts to a criminal offence under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance carrying upon conviction a maximum penalty of a fine of HK$1,000,000.00 and imprisonment for 5 years. The Commissioner is following up on this urging the operators of online social media platforms to remove the illegal doxxing content and postings without delay. The Commissioner concludes by calling on all sectors of the community to comply with the legal requirements and to respect and protect personal data privacy so that the community can all be united and focused to combat the outbreak of COVID-19 in these critical times in Hong Kong.