Cash allowance scheme set

Views sought on SIM registration

(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.)   The Government will launch a public consultation on January 30 to seek views on the implementation of a Real-name Registration Programme for Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Cards.   Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau briefed the media on the consultation paper at a press conference this afternoon.   He explained that the implementation of the registration programme seeks to facilitate the sustainable and healthy development of Hong Kong's telecommunications services and more effective enforcement against criminal activities associated with SIM cards.   He noted that due to their anonymous nature, pre-paid SIM (PPS) cards have been exploited by criminals in undertaking illegal activities.   Without any regulatory requirement to register PPS users, it is difficult for law enforcement agencies to trace and identify the ringleaders behind the scenes, creating impediments for tackling crimes.    The Government proposes to implement the real-name registration programme through a regulation made pursuant to the Telecommunications Ordinance, providing the necessary legal basis for telecommunications operators to register, collate and keep the registration information of users as required under the regulation.   The programme would cover all SIM cards issued by local telecommunications operators for use in Hong Kong.   Mr Yau said: “The purpose of this consultation is, in fact, to ask operators who are involved in the trade and also members of the public whether this proposal is possible.   “In the scheme, we are asking for very simple and straightforward information. For the service providers, what they need (to do is) build a system so that they can have a depository of such information, and if need be, allow law enforcement agencies to obtain it.   “For the users, at the end of the day, what they need to do is provide information - no more than what they have been doing - when (buying) service plan sim cards.   “Of course, like any other consultation, we want to hear from the public. If there is a need to extend this, we will certainly consider it.”   Asked if the service providers will have to acquire users’ facial information or biometric information, Mr Yau said the Government has no intention to do so.   The Government will consolidate views received upon the conclusion of the consultation period and table the regulation at the Legislative Council, with a view to completing the legislative process within the current legislative session, Mr Yau added.   The public consultation will end on February 28.   Views can be submitted by email to SIM@cedb.gov.hk, fax to 2511 1458 or post to Communications & Creative Industries Branch, Commerce & Economic Development Bureau, 21/F, West Wing, Central Government Offices, 2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar.   Click here for the consultation document.
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