Speech at Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting

Report on the public consultation on strengthening the regulation of person-to-person telemarketing calls

Assigning specific prefixes to telemarketers/designated telephone numbers

supported the Administration’s proposal to step up statutory regulation on P2P telemarketing calls. She noted that many marketing calls had specific prefixes, and people tended to skip those calls, not awaring that those prefixes were also being used in telephone calls from some government institutions such as public hospitals. Some of the emergency calls might have been missed. Ms MO suggested that the Administration could consider designating or assigning special symbols such as a pound sign or a hash sign (“#”) in prefixes to numbers used by government institutions to distinguish them from other telemarketers. Mr CHAN Chun-ying made similar suggestions. DS(CCI) responded that the suggested approach might not be a feasible solution. For instance, it might be difficult to define which calls were “important” calls, as different people would have different views on calls that they considered “important”. She added that the Administration’s proposal of setting up a statutory “Do-not-call” register was a mainstream approach adopted by most overseas jurisdictions that the Administration had researched into.

Enforcement of statutory regulation of person-to-person telemarketing calls

Mr CHAN Chun-ying, however, pointed out that it was difficult to define who the final beneficiaries might be and how the liability of intermediary parties or agents could be delineated, particularly when some of the telemarketing calls were originated overseas outside Hong Kong’s legal jurisdiction.

Mr CHAN Chun-ying mentioned that certain telemarketers might mislead recipients by falsifying their identities as legitimate financial institutions, while they were actually promoting services for different companies. Mr CHAN said that such situations might pose enforcement difficulties if the calls were originated overseas as they were hard to trace and their activities were outside Hong Kong’s legal jurisdiction. Mr SHIU Ka-fai and Mr CHAN Kin-por expressed similar concerns. Mr Alvin YEUNG made a similar observation that some callers might be able to mask their telephone numbers, making it more difficult to gather evidence and take legal actions.

DS(CCI) acknowledged the enforcement difficulties if the P2P telemarketing calls were originated overseas, and emphasized that such difficulties were similarly faced by overseas jurisdictions. Meanwhile, the Administration would continue to work with the relevant sectors to map out implementation details of the proposed Do-not-call Register. As regards the liability of the originators of P2P telemarketing calls, the “final beneficiaries” and other intermediate parties, DS(CCI) informed members that such details would be further mapped out during the drafting stage of the proposed legislation.


Building a Government Data Centre Complex


Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that data stored in five existing government data centres would be relocated to the facilities in the Complex. The Complex would also provide data centre services for some B/Ds. He asked how many other B/Ds’ data centres would be transferred to the Complex and whether the Complex was intended to accommodate all the data centres of B/Ds.

DGCIO said that there were at present 25 data centres being operated by B/Ds. Not all the government data centres were intended to be accommodated in the Complex. Some data centre facilities were not yet obsolete, and some data centres needed to meet certain statutory requirements and could not be located in the Complex.

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that the key design features of the Complex included the provision of highly resilient critical infrastructure facilities, security monitoring and access control systems. He enquired about the security level of the Complex, and whether the Administration would install a backup facility for the Complex. DGCIO said that OGCIO had taken into account the views of the Security Bureau and the Hong Kong Police Force in the security design of the Complex, in particular the security measures on the perimeter of the Complex. The computer systems inside the Complex would be operated according to OGCIO’s security standards and guidelines. DGCIO added that the existing data centres at Tsuen Wan and Sai Kung would continue to operate and serve as backup facilities of the Complex.