Freedom of Information | South China Morning Post
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  • Mar 4, 2015
  • Updated: 1:48am

Freedom of Information

The US security state laid bare

The US security state laid bare

Sales of George Orwell's works are said to be enjoying a small boom ever since the National Security Agency spy story broke, suggesting that, in confusing times, people still find solace in aphorisms and essays, fiction and fantasy, seeking to get a better grip on the uncharted and unclear dangers of the present.

Monday, 17 June, 2013, 4:23am 2 comments

Hong Kong government clings to its secrets as fewer records declassified

Simon Chu Fook-keung, former Government Records Service Director. Photo: Dickson Lee

Unlike in Britain and the United States where declassification falls under freedom of information laws, here the 30-year rule principle is only part of a government code on public records access. And the release rate has dropped from 61 per cent in 2008, to 46 per cent in 2010, to 41 per cent in 2012, according to figures given by the GRS in response to an inquiry by the South China Morning Post.

27 May 2013 - 2:26pm

Public pressure forces shelving of law that hides company directors’ details

President of Law Society, Dieter Yih Lai-tak. Photo: May Tse

Under public pressure, the government has decided to shelve a controversial law restricting public access to the personal information of company directors. The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau said yesterday it would hold back the legislation until consensus had been reached on ways to strike a balance between privacy and freedom of information.

29 Mar 2013 - 5:55am

Court rejects CIA secrecy over records of drone strikes

A US federal court ruled the CIA can no longer refuse to confirm or deny whether it has records related to drone strikes, in a blow to the government's secrecy over the bombing campaign.

17 Mar 2013 - 7:26am

Keep data on national company registries open and searchable

The existing system for accessing and using Companies Registry data is not designed on open data principles that enable queries beyond simple company searches. Photo: Bloomberg

As one of the most efficient e-services provided by the Hong Kong government, the Companies Registry regularly receives awards and recognitions. The e-Registry service in particular is popular, with around 2 million website visits per year.

7 Mar 2013 - 6:51am

Rule on disclosure of company directors' data seeks balance

Labour unions marched to protest against the possible restriction to information access. Photo: Bloomberg

Ever since the news broke last month that changes would be made to the Companies Ordinance that would make it harder for the media to obtain the personal data of company directors, the liberal media have cried foul and fired pot shots at the government for restricting media access. "Secrecy breeds corruption," the Hong Kong Journalists Association warned.

17 Feb 2013 - 5:59am 2 comments

David Webb takes database with directors' ID numbers offline

David Webb

Corporate governance advocate David Webb last night withdrew his short-lived database listing identity card numbers of 1,100 company directors, just hours after the privacy watchdog launched an investigation. Webb's "indefinite suspension" of his index came as a former Companies Registry chief joined local professionals in condemning the government's proposal to hide directors' personal information in the registry, currently open to all. 

16 Feb 2013 - 3:46am 1 comment

China's economic assistance to its nuclear threat neighbour is a state secret

Wang's letter of rejection from the Ministry of Finance

Previously sentenced to re-education through labour ahead of the Olympics, 81-year-old activist Wang Xiuying demands to know how much support China gives North Korea.

5 Feb 2013 - 9:56am

Directors' privacy is a direct attack on the public interest

Government plans will put the public in the dark. Photo: Bloomberg

Yesterday's South China Morning Post carried a full page petition signed by 1,768 journalists protesting against the Hong Kong government's plans to restrict public access to information about company directors.

29 Jan 2013 - 4:51am 5 comments

'Privacy law will breed corruption' warns journalists' union

Mak Yin-ting, Chairperson of The Hong Kong Journalists Association. Photo: Edward Wong

The Hong Kong Journalists Association has taken out a full-page advertisement in the South China Morning Post and similar ads in other newspapers warning "secrecy breeds corruption" and listing the names of the 1,700 media workers and students who have signed a petition against the new restrictions - a record-breaking number for the union.

28 Jan 2013 - 5:41am 10 comments

Improve public access to information

Photo: K. Y. Cheng

Hong Kong appears to stand out as a centre for the free flow of information in the region. But it lags behind countries that long ago enacted laws protecting public archives and access to information. The absence of legislation here means there is little control over what is kept and what is discarded by government departments.

26 Jan 2013 - 2:06am

Web activist, Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz, found dead at age 26

Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz. Photo: AP

A co-founder of Reddit and activist who fought to make online content free to the public has been found dead, authorities confirmed Saturday, prompting an outpouring of grief from prominent voices on the intersection of free speech and the Web.

13 Jan 2013 - 10:04am