Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Privacy watchdog receives 46 complaints of voter information being misused

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The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data has received 46 complaints of voters’ information being unlawfully used in the District Council election as of Tuesday. The office said it will follow up on the cases, and decide whether to launch investigations.

Local TV channel i-cable reported that one of its journalists received a call from a person claiming to be a volunteer of the Hong Kong Federation of Fujian Associations on the election day on Sunday, urging him to vote for Tsang Tai of the DAB Party, who was running in the Tsuen Wan Centre constituency against the Democratic Party’s Li Hung-por.

However, the journalist had never been a member of the Federation. In April, he changed his voter registration address through a promotion stand of the Federation, where he filled in a form issued by the Registration and Electoral Office (REO).

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data has received 46 complaints on voters' information being unlawfully used in the District Council election

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data. Photo: Gov HK.

The staff at the stand told him that the Federation would submit the form directly to the REO, and that the Federation would not record his personal information.

After receiving the call, the journalist dialled back the number to ask where the volunteer found his information.

“The place where you registered as voters, you provided address and Hong Kong Identity Card number,” the volunteer told the journalist that she recorded his information through the form, “it was not a problem, you are a voter.”

The TV station asked the office of the Federation to comment, but the Federation said it could not confirm the call was from its volunteers.

Unlawful use
Candidate Tsang Tai told the station that “I am a Fujian person, it is reasonable for the Hong Kong Federation of Fujian Associations to support me.”

“I do not have direct contact with it [the Federation], I do not know how they do things.” Tsang added.

Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung told the station that the voter information given to the Federation was supposed to be sent to related government departments, it may not be in accordance with the original intention of the provider if the information was used for other reasons, such as urging voters to vote.

Li Hung-por beat Tsang Tai in the election and was re-elected on Sunday.

Privacy watchdog receives 46 complaints of voter information being misused