HK privacy commissioner weighs in on e-wallets

Computerworld Hong Kong staff
Computerworld Hong Kong

Privacy commissioner for personal data Stephen Kai-yi Wong has urged Hong Kong residents to vigilantly keep control of their personal data in wake of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority's (HKMA) decision to grant Stored Value Facilities (SVF) licenses to five mobile e-wallet providers.

Wong also called on e-wallet operators to win customers' trust by respecting their privacy rights and safeguarding their personal data.

While he acknowledged that e-wallet operators may need to collect significant amounts of personal data as part of their operations, he said providers should give consumers control over the types of data e-wallet apps are allowed to access, and the ability to revoke these permissions at any time.

To keep their personal data safe, Wong recommended that users of e-wallet services find out how e-wallet operators will handle and process personal data collected, understand the apps' privacy settings and permissions and avoid operating e-wallet apps over public or insecure Wi-Fi connections.

Users should also use complex, unique passwords, make sure devices with the app installed have appropriate anti-theft features switched on and regulatory monitor transaction records for unauthorized payments.

Wong said e-wallet operators are required under the new Stored Value Facilities Ordinance to clearly explain to users what personal data is collected and the reasons why.

Operators planning to use collected data for purposes not directly related to payment should obtain the user's explicit and voluntary consent, and are legally required to ensure the accuracy and security of personal data collected. Customers are also entitled to access this data and request corrections.

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