Privacy of Telecommunications

Detention clauses pass despite rights concerns

The National People's Congress passed controversial amendments to the mainland's Criminal Procedure Law yesterday amid concerns that some clauses legalise secret detentions.

Thursday, 15 March, 2012, 12:00am

Proposed legal changes prove insubstantial

There have been many arguments during the three drafts of the mainland's amended Criminal Procedure Law about whether the revision is an improvement or not.

There appears to be a growing consensus: while the list of changes is long and many are welcome improvements, very few are substantial.

14 Mar 2012 - 12:00am

Legislators urge access to wiretaps

A watchdog must have access to details of police wiretaps to protect the public from unauthorised surveillance, lawmakers said yesterday as they criticised the government for being too slow to amend laws.

4 Jan 2012 - 12:00am

Watchdog regrets no wiretap oversight

A retiring government watchdog has not been allowed to access police wiretaps after 21/2 years of fighting for the power - and he may never get to.

6 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Exporting the digital yoke of repression

Political repression and surveillance the world over have gone digital. That is one of the lesser known but no less important lessons of the 'Arab spring'.

China's so-called Great Firewall internet censorship and its strong-arm tactics against foreign hi-tech companies to give up private customer data have justifiably been criticised.

5 Sep 2011 - 12:00am

Ruling could help citizens seeking official information

A new interpretation of the law by the courts may make it easier for citizens frustrated in their efforts in seeking information from the government to sue the department in question.

The ruling specifies situations in which a government department may be sued under the Open Government Information Regulations.

16 Aug 2011 - 12:00am

A small victory for public's right to share information

Dismayed by the Beijing municipal government's introduction of a car plate lottery in December, to tackle traffic woes, 25-year-old law firm assistant Ye Xiaojing requested information from three municipal government agencies about government-owned cars so the public could track pledges to curb their use.

Can you tell me briefly what you've done to get the information?

1 May 2011 - 12:00am

Surveillance watchdog review long overdue

In 2006 Hong Kong was on the verge of a constitutional crisis after the courts expressed outrage over the lack of legal procedures regulating wiretaps and covert surveillance, sparking a chaotic few months as the government rushed a bill through the legislature. It did not have to happen this way.

3 Dec 2010 - 12:00am

Law enforcers listened to journalists' calls

For the first time law enforcers have been found to have intercepted calls to journalists as part of their spying activities on suspects.

23 Nov 2010 - 12:00am

Head of snooping watchdog hits out at law enforcers

The head of Hong Kong's covert-surveillance watchdog accused some law enforcement officers of being rebellious and unused to supervision by a third party, in his yearly round-up yesterday.

8 Dec 2009 - 12:00am

Lawyers to listen in as Legco grills ICAC on phone tapping

The city's lawyers will be paying close attention to today's grilling of the ICAC commissioner and the secretary for security in the Legislative Council as to how anti-graft officers came to be listening in on confidential exchanges between lawyers and their clients.

16 Feb 2009 - 12:00am

A chance to get the law on wiretaps right

Once a year, the community gets a snapshot of the snooping on citizens by law enforcement agencies. The annual report of the watchdog on phone-tapping and bugging of private property reveals how much of it is going on and how many arrests of wrongdoers are said to have resulted from it.

14 Feb 2009 - 12:00am

Surveillance law breached 10 times

The city's enforcement agencies were found to have breached the covert surveillance law 10 times in 2007, the second year since it came into effect.

10 Feb 2009 - 12:00am

Our judiciary is paying the price for spy law

The first report of the commissioner on interception of communications and surveillance is a revelation.

8 Nov 2007 - 12:00am

Watchdog reports four surveillance breaches

Wrong phone tapped for a week, and judge kept in dark, but case called inadvertent

Four breaches of the covert surveillance law were committed in the first five months after it took effect in August last year.

1 Nov 2007 - 12:00am