Results of study of matters raised in the Annual Report 2016 to the Chief Executive by the Commissioner on Interception of Communications and Surveillance
Adequacy of existing legislation
Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked whether the existing definition of “communication” in ICSO was adequate. S for S responded that according to LEAs, the existing statutory definition of “communication” was adequate for discharging their law enforcement duties and no amendments thereto would be necessary.
S for S responded that the issue had been thoroughly discussed by the Bills Committee on Interception of Communications and Surveillance (Amendment) Bill 2015. The current definitions in ICSO were effective and there was no need for a review. He stressed that for applications for prescribed authorizations approved by panel judges, LEAs were required to report to panel judges any subsequent material change in circumstances which involved LPP or journalistic material. Compliance by LEAs with the relevant requirements under ICSO was monitored by the Commissioner. A balance had been struck between maintaining effectiveness of law enforcement and the protection of privacy.
Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked about the number of persons arrested as a result of or further to interception of communications or covert surveillance carried out pursuant to prescribed authorizations. He also asked whether the Administration had assessed the effectiveness of surveillance devices.
S for S responded that the crime trend varied from one year to another. There was no apparent evidence indicating that the drop in the number of applications for Type 1 and Type 2 surveillance arose from reluctance on the part of LEAs to submit surveillance applications. He pointed out that the number of persons arrested as a result of or further to interception of communications or covert surveillance had remained at the level of about 200 in the past five years. Law enforcement officers newly appointed to perform relevant duties were provided with induction training. Training packages had also been developed to enhance the knowledge of law enforcement officers about the requirements in ICSO and enable them to handle ICSO-related matters in a proper and prudent manner.
S for S added that from the commencement of ICSO in 2006 to 2016, about 16 000 prescribed authorizations had been issued to LEAs and about 3 500 persons had been arrested as a result of or further to interception of communications or covert surveillance carried out pursuant to prescribed authorizations. This indicated that interception and covert surveillance operations had effectively facilitated law enforcement work.
New Smart Hong Kong Identity Card
Design and durability of the new smart identity card
Mr CHAN Chun-ying said that the chip of an existing smart ID card was more durable than the card itself, which was made of plastic, and asked about the durability of the new smart ID card. US for S responded that the new smart ID cards would have a serviceable life expectancy of 15 years.
Territory-wide identity card replacement exercise
Mr CHAN Chun-ying said that with some 8.8 million ID cards to be replaced at nine SIDCCs within a period of 4.25 years, each SIDCC would have to handle the replacement of about 700 ID cards per day and the issue of a large number of new smart ID cards. He considered that the nine SIDCCs should be established at locations convenient to members of the public and the floor area should be sufficiently large.
AD of Imm (IC) responded that the nine SIDCCs would be established at locations convenient to members of the public. US for S added that the nine SIDCCs would be opened for longer hours than those of the last ID card replacement exercise. ImmD would adopt facilitation measures in the upcoming card replacement exercise, including: (a) the adoption of a “Dual-Track-Parallel-Run” approach in the call-up programme; (b) the provision of on-site smart ID card replacement service at RCHs for elderly persons and PWDs; and (c) better use of information technology such as allowing form-prefilling on the Internet or through a mobile application, as well as the establishment of self-service registration kiosks and self-service collection kiosks.
Non-immigration applications of the new smart identity card
Referring to paragraph 10 of the background brief prepared by the LegCo Secretariat, Mr CHAN Chun-ying sought information on the results of the technical study conducted by OGCIO to review other possible uses of smart ID cards. AGCIO(ID) responded that following a technical study to review other possible uses of smart ID cards, OGCIO had, in response to proposals from the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau and the Food and Health Bureau, proposed to include digital photograph and sex in the card face data compartment in the chip of a new smart ID card.
Regarding the non-immigration applications of the new smart ID card, Mr YIU Si-wing asked whether consideration would be given to incorporating various cards and monthly tickets issued by different government departments into the new smart ID card. AGCIO(ID) responded that OGCIO maintained regular contact with other government departments to understand their needs. US for S stressed that before introducing any new non-immigration applications for the new smart ID card, the Administration would consult the relevant Panels and consider the need for introduction of relevant legislative amendments.