• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 12:01pm
NewsHong Kong

Hong Kong’s privacy chief amplifies call for Google to extend ‘right to be forgotten’

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 June, 2014, 2:39am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 June, 2014, 10:03am


  • Yes: 79%
  • No: 21%
27 Jun 2014
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 220

The privacy chief has renewed his call for Google to provide its "right to be forgotten" globally - including in Hong Kong - as international pressure mounts on the internet search giant to apply the new safeguard beyond Europe.

Allan Chiang Yam-wang called on Google to pioneer a "borderless service" and adopt a "non-discriminatory approach" to applying the privacy right.

"We now live in a global village. … There must be a significant number of UK passport-holders among the Hong Kong population," Chiang said yesterday "Could they not invoke the EU legislation and exercise their right to be de-indexed?" he asked.

His call was in response to a new form set up by Google to take removal requests in Europe in compliance with a ruling last month by the European Court of Justice that individuals had the right to ask for removal of links to information about them that was "inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant or excessive".

Despite opposition from marketing and internet interests in Hong Kong, the privacy commissioner argued the search giant should face the issue globally.

"Similar cases will soon be heard in Canada as well as in Japan … Future court rulings outside the EU may oblige Google to provide the service," he wrote on his blog yesterday.

"It makes good customer service and business competitiveness sense for Google to demonstrate its privacy friendliness by pioneering a borderless service," he said.

As well as offering the new service in the 28 EU countries where the ruling is binding, Google has extended it to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

A Google spokesman said for the moment the service was only being provided to Europeans to comply with the court's ruling, but stopped short of explaining why it had been extended to some non-EU countries, though not to Asia.

Francis Fong Po-kiu, chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Interactive Marketing, scoffed at the idea of extending the right to be forgotten to Asia.

"This is self-deceptive," he said. "The greatness of the internet hinges on its high degree of information transparency that enhances public scrutiny against social injustice."

Fong suggested privacy authorities in each country talk to Google about setting up a mechanism suited to handing such requests in their regions.

Chester Soong Tak-kar, chairmen of the Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association, expressed fears that the public's right to know might be jeopardised. "There is this danger," he argued. "Some wannabe politicians or celebrities may take advantage of this right to whitewash their unflattering past."


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This article is now closed to comments

John Adams
Is the Privacy Commissioner still the numb skull who forbade publishing HKID card numbers?
(aka the previous head of the Post Office, for whom self-adhesive stamps was considered hi-tech )
John Adams
So will we conveniently "forget" Rafael H u i and his misdeeds after he comes out of prison ( if he does ever get out before he dies ) if found guilty ?
I hope Thomas Kwok can keep some Christian company with Peter what's-his-name ... the man who forged Nina Wang;s will ( see how easily we all forget ! ) ... ah thanks for Google
Peter Chan
"Jailed former fung shui master Peter Chan Chun-chuen has swapped the high life with Asia's richest woman for prison congee and rice.
Yesterday the born-again Christian awoke in a single cell at Stanley Prison after his sentence to 12 years' imprisonment for forging the will of late Chinachem property heiress Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum to get his hands on her HK$83 billion fortune.
Chan, 53, met his wife and daughter for half an hour - as he is allowed to do twice a month. Last night he was served milk and bread before bed. Lights are turned off at 10pm. Today Chan, like any other prisoner, is allowed to participate in recreational, cultural or religious activities.
As he faces spending at least the next eight years in the maximum-security prison - he will become eligible for parole in 2021 at the earliest - Chan may be contemplating some of his new neighbours. They include notorious m u r d er e r s Yip Kai-foon and Kwai Ping-hung."
May Peter Chan NEVER be forgotten
Same same for for R H u i and the Kwok bros if they are found guilty
This is such a terrible idea for Hong Kong. Transparency needs far outweigh privacy concerns in the long term. This is quite simply a tool to protect the powerful and facilitate censorship of the truth.
People deserve the right to be left alone. What gives a person the right to destroy someone or have them falsely arrested and a story is on a social media site. The arrest is expunged, but the story remains; now the person can't find adequate work and their life is in ruins. This is a disgrace and the right to be forgotten should be a law that exists
The problem with AMERICA is GOOGLE is the DICTATOR and These white men decide what goes and what stays online. Google has too much power and they are greedy and money hungry. We just learned today that Google is in Cuba TRYING TO SELL their product down there because most of the world is fed up with GOOGLE sharing private information and destroying innocent peoples reputation.
While the rest of the world like Europe and Hong Kong are smart about caring for peoples rights by having the RIGHT TO FORGET; Greedy, selfish American Corporate BOYS like Google, AOL, AND FACBOOK believe in the RIGHT TO REMEMBER and people be damned. AMERICA is an EMBARRASSMENT. The ACLU gave freedom of speech to GOOGLE and these third party social media sites that are fabricated news with unethical journalist who sell themselves out for an advertising buck to report fabricated stories with the intent to smear and destroy people. PATCH.COM should be investigated for their unethical practices of back linking hundreds of sites to the story on someones arrest to keep it page ranked at the top of GOOGLE to Torment and destroy. USA IS EVIL.
I first Googled him, found nothing to worry about, then after a week, it was too late, he did what he did...
Maybe we should put you on a social media site and destroy your good name and then keep it there the rest of your life.


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