Anger and surprise over the Octopus Card data scandal

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 August, 2010, 12:00am

Lawmakers yesterday called on the MTR Corporation - the biggest shareholder in Octopus Cards - to reveal more details of the sale of cardholders' personal information to third parties in a bid to ease public anxiety. The Democratic Party's James To Kun-sun suggested Octopus should invite customers to rejoin the scheme so they could give consent to the use of their personal data. Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the board of Octopus should shoulder responsibility for the controversy. The Post asked members of the public what they think.

Irene Cheung, mother of two. Has one standard Octopus card

'I am not surprised Octopus shares personal information of members. Many private sector companies such as banks and insurance firms do so as well. That's why I only have a standard Octopus card with no personal data on it.'

Kwok Yee-jen, student. Has a personalised Octopus card with automatic add-value service and reward scheme. Uses card to pay for transport and also to make supermarket and cinema ticket payments.

'I am angry about what the Octopus did as personal data is an important asset for me ... I want Octopus to pay me back after this incident. If I was notified in a proper way, not simply in the tiny words in the terms and conditions on the application form, I would not have signed up for so many Octopus services.'

Kelvin Leung, student. Has a personalised Octopus card with automatic add-value service. Uses card at convenience stores.

The card is really very convenient. But I am surprised about the card issuer selling my data to others in such a way.'

Patrick Yuen, has a personalised card with automatic add-value service. Pays for transport and purchases at convenience stores.

'The public has a right to know how personal data is shared with other parties. The terms and conditions on the form should be bigger and listed in a way that can draw an applicant's attention.'

Scott Lothian, expatriate working in Hong Kong. Loves his Octopus Card.

'I am not too worried. I am not surprised they [the card issuers] monitor my shopping patterns and transactions,' he said. But his wife Vicki, who also has a card, disagreed. 'This is shocking. Applicants should have a choice to opt-in, like what the supermarket membership cards do in Britain. There is a Data Protection Act in Britain which prevents selling of personal data [without consent] ,' she said.