The Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment) Ordinance 2012 (“Amendment Ordinance”) was formally adopted in July 2012. One of the most significant changes the Amendment Ordinance made to the existing Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (“PDPO”) is the tightening of control over the use and provision of personal data in direct marketing activities. The new regime is particularly relevant to organizations that engage in direct marketing activities or acquire and transfer personal data to third parties for direct marketing purposes. The Amendment Ordinance also makes certain amendments to the data protection principles, introduces new offenses and penalties, and enhances the authority of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (“Commissioner”). In addition, it introduces a new scheme whereby the Commissioner may provide legal assistance to individuals.
The majority of the Amendment Ordinance came into effect on October 1, 2012. However, provisions concerning the new direct marketing regime and the legal assistance scheme provided by the Commissioner will take effect on April 1, 2013. In January 2013, the Commissioner issued new guidance on direct marketing activities (“Guidance Note”) before commencement of the applicable provisions of the Amendment Ordinance in order to enable organizations to take compliance measures and reengineer their policies.
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