Date
12 December 2017
Hong Kong's privacy watchdog has ordered one company to destroy blood samples taken after an incident in a bathroom. Photo: bjo, Flickr
Hong Kong's privacy watchdog has ordered one company to destroy blood samples taken after an incident in a bathroom. Photo: bjo, Flickr

Staff targeted in extreme invasions of privacy

An investment company and a furniture firm generated some of the more extreme invasions of privacy handled by Hong Kong’s privacy watchdog last year, and in both cases the violations were against staff, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday.

Acting on a complaint, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data ordered the investment company to destroy blood samples it had collected from women employees for DNA tests to determine the source of menstrual blood on a toilet floor. 

The office also told the furniture firm to stop collecting fingerprints from its 400 employees for a new door access system. The staff were told that they would be fired if they did not give their prints.

Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data Allan Chiang Yam-wang said that since the company had already installed surveillance cameras in the office a fingerprint system was excessive.

The commission has received an average of 116 complaints each year over the last four years but 53 were filed in the first four months of this year.

Senior personal data officer Natalie Poon said most of the violations are not serious but there were still some extreme cases, the report said.

Chiang said public and private sector awareness of the need to protect personal data is still low and organizations should make personal data protection part of corporate governance, the report said.

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EL/AC/SK

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