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26th APPA Forum — Communiqué

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong (the PCPD) hosted the 26th Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA) Forum from 8th to 10th November 2006 in Hong Kong.

“In the APPA discussions over the past three days, I have shared views and experiences with members on common privacy concerns within the region. I am glad that my Office is able to take an active part in promoting privacy awareness on both regional and global levels. In hosting the Forum we show our commitment to the protection of personal data privacy,” Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Mr. Roderick Woo said.

The APPA is a formal structure established in 1992 (formerly known as PANZA) for regional privacy authorities to form partnerships and exchange ideas about privacy regulation, new technologies and the management of privacy enquiries and complaints.

At present APPA comprises the Office of the Privacy Commissioner Australia, Office of the New South Wales Privacy Commissioner, Office of the Privacy Commissioner New Zealand, Office of the Information Commissioner Northern Territory, Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner, Korean Information Security Agency and the PCPD. Steps are currently being taken to widen the membership. APPA convenes twice a year and members take turns to host the Forum. This is the first time for it to be held in Hong Kong.

APPA normally meets over three days. Day one of the Forum was a closed-session for Privacy Commissioners and their staff to discuss permanent agenda items like jurisdictional reports from each delegation and an initiative-sharing roundtable.

On the second day of the Forum, representatives of Agencies and Departments involved in privacy administration or privacy-related issues were invited to speak on privacy issues in relation to “consumer credit data”, “CCTV”, “Smart ID Card in Hong Kong” and “privacy protection measures by corporations”.

Events on the third day of the Forum was open to the public. Two distinguished speakers, Professor John Bacon-Shone, former Chairman of the Privacy Sub-Committee of the Law Reform Commission and Mr. Ambrose Lee, the Secretary for Security, were invited to speak on the current issue of covert surveillance. Professor Bacon-Shone made a brief introduction on privacy development and matters in the recent report of the Law Reform Commission. Mr. Lee spoke on the enactment of the Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance. After the presentations, all APPA privacy commissioners held a panel discussion answering questions from the audience and exchanging views and experiences in their respective jurisdictions. The audience included local law students and members of the Data Protection Officers Club.