Dismissal dispute fuels doxing arrest

A 31-year-old man was arrested in New Territories North on Friday for suspected doxing of a co-worker following a dismissal dispute.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data said the man was suspected of having disclosed without consent the personal data of his former co-worker, after their relationship turned sour because of performance at work, which ultimately led to the dismissal of the man.

In mid-October last year, personal information of the complainant was published on a social media platform.

It included the complainant’s Chinese name, mobile phone number, name of his residential estate, name of employer, along with information on his past deeds.

The suspect is alleged to have breached section 64 (3A) of the Personal Data Privacy Ordinance - disclosing personal data without the consent of a data subject - and was granted bail pending further investigation.

The privacy screening powers to combat doxing came into effect following the gazetting of the Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment) Ordinance on October 8.

Under the law, anyone who discloses another’s personal data without consent with an intent to “cause specified harm or being reckless as to whether specified harm would be caused” is liable upon conviction to a maximum fine of HK$1 million and five-years imprisonment.

Harm refers to harassment, threats, psychological harm, or any acts that cause a target to be concerned about their personal safety.

Empowered by the law, the privacy commissioner now has the right to investigate and prosecute independently without having to involve the police, as well as serve a concession notice for information online to be removed.

The privacy commissioner can also access electronic devices without a warrant under urgent circumstances.