Personal Data Privacy
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VI. Privacy regarding direct marketing

The Amendment Ordinance 2012 introduced a new regime governing the use of personal information in direct marketing, which took effect on 1 April 2013. The new regime provides stronger protection for individuals. When data users intend to use or provide an individual's personal data in direct marketing, they are required to inform the individuals of the prescribed information and obtain their consent.

Under section 35A of the Ordinance, "direct marketing" (in the context of personal data privacy) means:

  1. offering or advertising the availability of goods, facilities or services; or
  2. soliciting donations or contributions for charitable, cultural, philanthropic, recreational, political or other purposes,

by means of:

  1. information or goods sent to specific persons by mail, facsimile transmission, electronic mail, or other similar means of communication, where the information or goods are addressed to a specific person or specific persons by name; or
  2. telephone calls made to specific persons.

Corresponding to the amendment of the Ordinance, the Commissioner published guidance notes entitled New Guidance on Direct Marketing in January 2013.

  1. Use of personal data for the data user’s own direct marketing purposes
  2. Provision of personal data to third parties for use in direct marketing
  1. Complaint Case Notes from the PCPD – Staff of an estate agency had been approaching a property owner through her home and mobile telephone numbers (notwithstanding her repeated objections) in an effort to persuade her to sell her property. Is this a violation of section 35G of the Ordinance?
  2. Complaint Case Notes from the PCPD – A councillor's office uses the contact information of citizens who have sought assistance from the councillor to make election publicity calls. Is this an appropriate use of personal data in political direct marketing?