I read an item in the news that I found a bit surprising. It starts:
A Hong Kong court has fined a property agent after he was accused of passing on an acquaintance’s personal data to a financial planner without taking prior consent.
The agent, a man surnamed Leung, was ordered to pay a fine of HK$5,000 (US$645) for breaching the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.
So picture this: you meet someone at a party, chat casually, and exchange business cards. The other person then gives your name and phone number to an insurance agent who then calls you up to try to sell you insurance. You hear the sales pitch starting and hang up the phone.
That’s it. But you now file a complaint under Hong Kong’s data protection law, and the man who shared your business card winds up in court.
Seriously: that’s pretty much all that happened: one person gave a name and phone number to another person without prior consent.
Can you imagine that ever happening here in the U.S. – that we could sue someone who gave out our name and phone number to a business contact? Or that the business contact might also be charged for using the information to call you?
This wasn’t even a case of sharing of bulk data. One person, one business card contact info.
Now I know I always say that every individual’s privacy counts, but yes, I am surprised by how strict the Hong Kong law is.
The case is significant as it marked the first time a person was convicted under the new rules that took effect in April 2013, Ming Pao Daily noted.
Well, if this case is picked up in media there a lot, that might certainly make people think twice about just giving out names and phone numbers.
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