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SMS sender scheme expanded

The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) announced today that the SMS Sender Registration Scheme is now open for application by all sectors to further help the public verify the identities of SMS senders, with a view to combatting SMS fraud.   Apart from further opening up the scheme, the OFCA said it welcomes public and private organisations from various industries with a practical need to communicate with customers or clients via SMS to join the scheme.   Under the scheme, only registered senders are able to send SMS messages using their registered SMS sender IDs with the prefix “#”. All other SMS messages with sender IDs containing “#” but not sent by registered senders will be blocked by the telecommunications networks.   As such, the public can easily identify whether an SMS message is received from a registered sender by the prefix “#” in the SMS sender ID.   The OFCA reminds citizens to stay highly vigilant when receiving SMS messages from unknown sender

Doxxing to be effectively regulated

The Government proposes amending the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance to effectively regulate doxxing-related acts and has taken reference to laws in other legal jurisdictions to seek a reasonably practicable amendment.   The Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Bureau made the statement in response to an overseas media report on July 5 that alleged a number of Internet companies had expressed concerns over the proposed amendments to the ordinance.   The report also said the companies had written to the Government warning that they might refrain from offering their services in Hong Kong to avoid holding their subsidiary employees liable for content generated by their users.   The Asia Internet Coalition had earlier written to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data to express its views on the proposed amendments to the ordinance.   The bureau noted that while the coalition has uploaded the letter to their website, the letter made no mention of the stance of individual company members nor are there companies planning to retreat from Hong Kong, an issue the coalition has clarified.   The Government strongly opposes the report that took matters out of context to mislead and confuse the public, the bureau added.   Doxxing acts intruding into personal data privacy have been rampant in society in recent years and the public has strongly requested the criminalisation of doxxing and stepping up enforcement by the bureau.   Based on investigation and prosecution experience in handling past doxxing cases, the bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data will propose amendments to the ordinance to effectively handle doxxing-related acts.   In the process, the bureau has referred to relevant laws in other legal jurisdictions to propose legislative amendment proposals on areas such as the definition of a doxxing offence, penalties, evidential threshold, the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data's statutory criminal investigation and prosecution powers.   The bureau reiterated that the legislative amendments only concern doxxing acts and the commissioner's law-enforcement powers. The scope of the doxxing offence is clear, focused and target-specific and has achieved the right balance between protecting privacy and freedom of speech.   It aims to submit the amendment bill to the Legislative Council within this legislative year.   The Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Bureau said that together with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, it has all along maintained good communication with relevant stakeholders, adding that the office has arranged a meeting with the coalition to understand their concerns over the proposed legal amendments.
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