The PDPO Amendment – How it Affects Colocation Services in Hong Kong

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As the world’s leading financial center and one of Asia’s most carrier-dense network hubs, Hong Kong offers unparalleled connectivity between customers and their partners in their digital supply chains. The city’s colocation facilities provide access to a broad range of network service providers, and offer the opportunity for companies to interconnect across Asia through a single platform.

The PDPO defines personal data to include any information about a living individual from which it is practicable to identify the individual, including information that identifies an individual’s location or other personal details. It does not, however, include information that merely indicates a person’s intention to use his or her money in a particular way or any information about a person’s health status, political views, sexual preference, or religious beliefs.

Under the amendment, the Commissioner may serve a cease-and-desist notice on a data user who discloses personal data without consent where the disclosure is likely to cause “foreseeable harm” to the data subject, his or her family member, or any other person identified in the data. This is an extension of the Commissioner’s power under the PDPO to serve a notice for such offences, which was previously limited to disclosures that are likely to cause unjustified prejudice or distress to individuals.

Aside from the new powers to serve a notice, the Amendment also provides a wider scope for the Commissioner to issue fines of up to HK$10 million for breaching the PDPO. This is an important step in increasing the enforcement of the PDPO, and will help to promote public awareness of the importance of privacy protection.

Moreover, the Amendment also allows the Commissioner to fine data users that process personal data on behalf of their clients, provided that the data is collected in or from Hong Kong and that the data processing cycle occurs outside of Hong Kong. This will allow the Commissioner to more easily ensure compliance with the PDPO by data users who outsource their operations.

As a global leader in data centre services, Equinix connects customers into a rich industry ecosystem in Hong Kong. Our colocation facilities provide access to a diverse array of network service providers in this business hub and allow them to reach the key players in their supply chains. This includes a large number of leading enterprises, networks and IT service providers. They can tap into this rich connectivity as well as access to our leading internet exchange, and benefit from our close collaboration with Chinese Internet authorities.