Supplementary Question on Legislative Council Meeting-Q1

Combating false information

MR CHAN CHUN-YING (in Cantonese): Thank you, President. In dealing with false information, it is most important for the authorities to improve the speed of response and their ability to rise to the occasion. HAB’s earlier response seems to suggest that legislation is the sole solution to the problem, whereas the UK’s approach is to set up a rapid response unit to deal with false information. With the help of machine learning and other analytical tools, the UK monitors suspicious information throughout the day to achieve “early detection and early cut-off” of the relevant transmission chain. My question is: Will the Administration consider, before a decision is made on whether to legislate, drawing reference from the UK’s approach of setting up a rapid response unit internally to deal with false information in a targeted manner? Thank you.

SECRETARY FOR SECURITY (in Cantonese): Thank you, President. First of all, I very much agree with Mr CHAN that it is crucial to respond promptly to fake news and false information, that is to say, the truth should be explained before any incorrect idea is formed from false information in society. In fact, we have different units concerned, and one example is the Information Services Department (“ISD”) which conducts real-time monitoring of a lot of social media information to find out what is happening in society and whether there is false information. Another example is the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau which keeps examining whether there is erroneous information from the angle of detecting any lawbreaker. In fact, each unit already has its own mechanism. As long as we find inappropriate information which needs to be clarified, we will do so immediately. We have mechanisms in place to deal with the information which involves criminal matters and the information which just requires a general response from us.

In addition, the Member just now mentioned the application of technology, and I very much agree with this view. In fact, we will make use of big data, artificial intelligence (“AI”) or even software in the market to assist in the relevant analysis, in the hope of monitoring the situation as far as possible and achieving “early detection and early cut-off” as well as early response. Thank you, President.