Letters to the Editor, April 16, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 April, 2017, 9:03am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 April, 2017, 9:02am

Laptop theft was appalling blunder

After having lived in Hong Kong for 30 years, and witnessed ever-increasing levels of government incompetence (which I have watched with ever-increasing incredulity), the latest incident concerning the loss of voters’ personal information simply beggars belief (“Laptops containing 3.7 million Hong Kong voters’ data stolen after chief executive election”, March 28).

Someone has the personal details of 3.78 million registered Hong Kong voters(full names, identity card numbers, home and email addresses, and phone numbers).

The Registration and Electoral Office says the information is encrypted, implying we shouldn’t be worried, but if officials really think that, they are even more stupid than we thought. We should be seriously worried about this breach of our data privacy and it’s high time the government was taken to task.

The irony of course is that a democratically elected government would by now have lost its mandate and been forced to ­resign. The very least the Hong Kong government can do now is to offer a full and unexpurgated explanation as to how and why the data was left on laptops in a room at the AsiaWorld-Expo back-up site, and more fully ­explain what the risks are to the affected 3.78 million registered voters and how they can protect themselves.

This was an appalling blunder of monumental proportions and the email apology on March 30 was an insult to the intelligence of the long-suffering ­people of Hong Kong.

Andrew Ferguson, Lantau

Tell voters if their details are compromised

Three things are clear regarding the theft of the Registration and Electoral Office’s (REO) two ­laptops containing voter data.

The data was not required for the chief executive election. Whether encrypted or not, the data should not have been kept on a laptop or other portable ­device. And the laptops should not have been left unattended in non-government premises.

There are very strict and comprehensive regulations on the security of government IT data, and these were patently ­ignored by the office. The ­departmental security officer and departmental IT ­security ­officer have much to ­answer for, but questions should be ­answered further up in the REO if accountability means ­anything to the government.

Registered voters need to be told how much damage can be done to them personally if their full names, dates of birth, ­identity card numbers, addresses and telephone numbers fall into the hands of rogues, ­wherever they may reside.

Guy Shirra, Sai Kung

Crackdown on gambling will help the nation

I back the central government’s tough stand on gambling (“Beijing to step up pressure on illegal gambling activity”, March 30).

It is cracking down on ­“efforts to lure its citizens to gamble in casinos” outside the mainland, such as Singapore, Las ­Vegas and Macau, and will also target online gambling that mainlanders can access.

This move can help stimulate the Chinese economy. By stamping down on agents illegally enticing citizens to gamble overseas, the government can ensure more money stays in the country. These consumers will spend their money on products in China. When they go overseas and gamble, their money helps the casinos, not the nation.

Illegal activities like ­gambling, prostitution and drug use create serious problems if they are widespread in society.

People who become addicted to gambling hurt themselves and their families. Freed of these vices, people can lead healthy lifestyles which is good for ­society as a whole.

Joyce Lee Cheuk-sin, Kowloon Tong

Being more aware can curb phone scams

There has been an increase in the number of mobile phone scams, with some victims losing substantial sums of money.

As these criminals are careful to hide their identity, it is difficult for the authorities to track them down, arrest them and retrieve the money.

People have to make the ­effort to become more aware of the various pitfalls they could encounter.

If they get a suspicious call and the caller is seeking money from them, they should stay calm and phone the police.

Also, the authorities on both sides of the border need to work closely together, as some of these criminals operate on the mainland which again makes it difficult to track them down and apprehend them.

Mia Chu, Kwai Chung

We want to have our cake and eat it

I agree with Alex Lo (“Carrie Lam between a rock and hard place”, April 4) that chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor should not commence Article 23 legislation and should put ­political reform on the back burner.

Jasper Tsang Yok-sing (on Article 23) and Ronny Tong Ka-wah (on political reform) may be ­logically and politically correct in asking Lam to act. But the reality is that we want universal suffrage, a much higher degree of autonomy than other cities in the world enjoy, and we also want to exclude Beijing’s ­authority under the various ­articles of the Basic Law.

In Hong Kong, we always want to have our cake and eat it.

We want all the benefits of being part of China, but we do not, unlike other cities in the country, have to pay into the ­ central ­government’s coffers.

We do not pay for the upkeep of the Chinese garrison in Hong Kong, while we happily paid princely sums every year to the UK for the British garrison ­before the handover.

Chow Pak-chin, Mong Kok