22 March 2019
The REO said all information in the missing laptops is protected by multiple encryptions. Photo: HKEJ.
The REO said all information in the missing laptops is protected by multiple encryptions. Photo: HKEJ.

Election office admits missing laptops not put in locked cabinet

More details have surfaced about the loss of two laptop computers containing personal information on Election Committee members and registered voters.

In a document submitted to the Legislative Council, the Registration and Electoral Office (REO), which owned the laptops, said they were only placed in a locked room equipped with closed-circuit television cameras at the AsiaWorld-Expo, the fallback venue for the March 26 chief executive election, but not in a locked cabinet, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

REO staffers put the laptops in the room on March 24 before they notified the control center of the AsiaWorld-Expo to suspend the use of keys to the room and left later that day.

The staffers did not return until about 10 a.m. on March 27, only to find the laptops missing at around noon.

The laptops contained information on all the 1,200 Election Committee members and more than three million registered voters, according to a statement issued by the REO on March 27.

One of the laptops contains the names of the 1,194 Election Committee members with no other personal information while the other contains the names, addresses and Hong Kong Identity Card numbers of electors as well as the districts and constituencies they belong to, the REO said.

Although the office said all the information in the missing computers is protected by multiple encryptions which are extremely difficult to break through, the incident has raised concerns that the information might fall into wrong hands and be misused.

Legco’s Panel on Constitutional Affairs was set to hold a special session on the incident on Tuesday.

Raymond Tam Chi-yuen, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, and Chief Electoral Officer Wong See-man were expected to answer questions from the lawmakers.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 11

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at [email protected]


Hong Kong Economic Journal

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe