Happy to pay taxes the low-tech way

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 12:00am


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I have been reading about the government's plans to use digital certificates, which will be incorporated in the so-called smart identity cards.

The other day you featured a letter from Dr John Bacon-Shone ('Incomplete account of digital certificates', March 18), which said that people should be able to use a password to pay their taxes on the Internet, and that Microsoft Windows should not be used to make the smart cards.

I agree with Dr Bacon-Shone that it is wrong that one American company should control the way our ID cards are read. I also think it is wrong that any information should be stored inside my ID card.

This issue has been debated many times, but it is essential that there should be no security problems that could lead to the fraudulent use of security cards.

If I lose my old ID card, I only have to worry about a HK$500 fine and the trouble I would have to replace it. But if I lose the new card, will I have to worry about someone using it to gain access to my bank account?

My Hong Kong ID card is my identification, and I have to show it to many people. If I show it to someone who makes a copy of it, how can I believe my so-called smart ID card is safe?

However, I differ from Dr Bacon-Shone on one point. Even with a password, I still do not want to pay my tax online.

I do not think passwords are safe, because they can be stolen. I have many PIN numbers and passwords, and it is difficult to remember them all, especially if I use my password only once a year to pay my taxes.

Also, at the end of the day, most of these services are provided by Hutchison Whampoa and their ESD Web site. I also do not want to trust a public company with information I would only entrust to the government and my accountant.

At the end of the day, I will still pay my tax in the old-fashioned way - by cheque.

Name and address supplied



Many newspapers have been writing about the Cisco Systems lawsuit against Huawei, one of China's biggest network companies. I have also read stories claiming that Huawei sold secret equipment to Iraq before the war.

But reports say that Huawei is not alone in selling equipment to Iraq. And the company says it did not sell anything to the army in Iraq. Instead, it was selling its equipment to the telephone company there.

It is unfair that everybody keeps saying China companies are selling secrets to foreign dictatorships, and that they always copy technology from abroad.

In fact, many companies have done this already, but when they are American, it seems nobody cares.

It is time people recognised Chinese companies for their advanced technology and not criticised them so much.

Name and address supplied


Congratulations to Mike Leney, of Tai Po, who won our recent O2 XDA contest. The competition ran on the South China Morning Post Web site. Mr Leney will receive an O2 XDA smart phone and an O2 Arsenal Football Club shirt.