Hong Kong Computers Containing Personal Data of 3.7 Million Voters Go Missing

The Hong Kong government lost two computers containing personal data of all registered voters in the city. These include names, addresses and identity card numbers.

The Registration and Electoral Office (REO) confirmed the news on Monday night, Hong Kong Free Press said.

The computers were being kept in a locked room at AsiaWorld-Expo, a popular convention facility that was used as a backup polling station for the chief executive election held on Sunday.

Aside from the personal data of Hong Kong’s 3.7 million registered voters, the computers also had the full names of the 1,194 Election Committee members who apparently voted in the election.

Image: WiNG at Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

However, the REO assured the public that the personal data was encrypted and that the incident was already reported to the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data and the police.

IT legislative councilor Charles Mok called the REO’s “careless” mistake “really outrageous” and “unacceptable.” He shared his thoughts (via Facebook):

“If the same computer had been used for past elections, there is no reason not to delete the information after the election. In fact, there is no reason to store the information on the computer as such can be lost.

“The matter reflects that there is a problem with the Basic Information Security Program of the Registration and Electoral Office!”

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