10 August 2009

Breaking News: Our Privacy Commissioner takes on Uncle Suen!

Before sharing the exciting breaking news on drug test, I urge you to join this Facebook group by the Youth Union against the test scheme. Having less than 300 people in a Facebook group is a shame, let's all join it here! And you know that it really works, as the media now reports on Facebook activities rather than real news.

This evening we heard this exciting news from TV. The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Mr Roderick Woo, wrote to Uncle Suen today "expressing his comments and concerns" on the drug test.

In his long-winded seven-page "confidential" letter (why it was classified in the first place, if they had intended to publish it?), our commissioner slapped Uncle Suen in the face with his ultimate deterrent: Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.

Some important points in the letters are as follows:
  1. Parents or guardians cannot give consent to the test on behalf of their kids;
  2. The test subjects' (i.e. students') consent should be an informed decision. That means they know clearly what the purpose of collection is and how the data will be used. That also means they should know whether they will likely face criminal investigation (I told you earlier that it is never clear);
  3. Accuracy of test results should be assured as reasonably practicable (I told you million times that the test will not be accurate with the long list of substances leading to false positives);
  4. Data collected cannot be used for other purposes without consent of the subject (they are still not sure what to do with the results, I told you).
You can read the long-winded letter yourself if you're interested.

We're likely to see a halt to the test called soon. After all, that's politics. Politicians have every right to eat words.

But has Donald Tsang eaten too many words already? Drug test can't wait? My ass!

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