Data Protection Ordinance and Prepaid Mobile Plans in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government has created a free portal providing public data and information. It includes statistics on health, housing, education, the economy, etc. The portal also has maps, line graphs, and cross-sectional plots showing trends over time. The Hong Kong government aims to increase the use of open data and promote best practices.

The Data Protection and Privacy Ordinance (PDPO) of Hong Kong lays out personal data protection standards. It establishes data subject rights, gives specific obligations to data controllers and regulates the collection, processing, holding and use of personal data through six data protection principles. It applies to both governmental agencies and private entities.

PDPO was first introduced in 1996 and significantly amended in 2012 and 2021. Among other things, the 2021 amendments addressed doxxing, which refers to the acts of disclosing personal data without consent.

In 2015 PCCW-HKT and one2free merged to form the new network csl. Currently, their combined network covers the whole of Hong Kong. You can buy prepaid plans online or in the shops of csl., 7-Eleven, 1O1O, Van Go and Circle K kiosks. You can top up online with a credit card or HK$ 50-300 vouchers. The cheapest packages include data for mainland China and Macau. Data use in these countries is separated from and lower than data allowance in HK. Tethering is not allowed but Facetime, VoIP and WhatsApp calls are.

Unlike other MVNOs, SmarTone offers a variety of add-ons to customize your package. The cheapest is their Lite Unlimited Data package for HK$ 28 per day (at maximum speed). There are also add-ons for US, Canada and Australia, which have a FUP of 3 GB and throttle to 128 kbps beyond that. They also have a yearly Mainland China and HK SIM for HK$ 268 with 8 GB for a year.

If you are in Hong Kong for work or study, the best option is probably a roaming plan from one of the big providers, such as csl. or Three HK, which are both owned by Hong Kong Telecom. These are valid across HK, Macau and mainland China on their respective networks. These plans are billed in HK$ and offer a high level of coverage and reliability.