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How to Safely Transfer Personal Data to Hong Kong

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Data is the fuel that powers modern technology, enabling everything from autonomous cars to online shopping. The role of data is rapidly expanding and becoming more mission critical to the success of businesses across sectors, but it’s important for companies to have strong data governance and management practices in place to manage this increasing risk and ensure compliance with data transfer regulations.

The first step is to determine whether or not personal data is being transferred. To do so, it’s necessary to understand the interpretation of key data privacy concepts in Hong Kong. This includes the definition of “personal data,” which is broadly defined to include any information that can be used to identify a person, such as name; identification number; location data; online identifier; or any other factor specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that individual.

Once it’s determined that personal data is being transferred, the next step is to evaluate whether the foreign jurisdiction’s laws and practices provide adequate protection for the personal data. If not, the data exporter must adopt supplementary measures to bring the level of protection up to Hong Kong standards. These may include technical measures such as encryption, anonymisation or pseudonymisation, or contractual provisions relating to audit, inspection and reporting, beach notification and compliance support and co-operation.

Finally, the data exporter should review its Personal Information Collection Statement (PICS) to see whether it has expressly notified the purposes for which the personal data is collected and the classes of persons to whom it can be transferred. This is an obligation that must be fulfilled in order for a transfer to be lawful under the PDPO, but it’s less onerous than the requirement to obtain consent in Europe under the GDPR.

For companies looking to build a global digital supply chain, Hong Kong is an ideal hub for cross-border data transfers. Equinix’s data centers in the city provide a thriving industry ecosystem in one of Asia’s most carrier-dense network hubs, allowing customers to interconnect directly with business partners and suppliers in the region. Contact us to learn more about how you can benefit from our data hk services.