Given the private nature of banking services and as banks serve the vast majority of the public, the banking industry is one of the private sectors in Hong Kong for which the Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner receives most complaints. For the same reasons, data privacy compliance by the banking industry attracts particular attention, not only from the regulatory authorities, but also from the public. Due to the sensitive nature of the information handled by the banking industry, the consequences of personal data being mishandled, lost, leaked or stolen can be very serious. The risk is heightened by the increased threat of cyber crime. In October 2014, both the Privacy Commissioner and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority ("HKMA") issued guidelines to banks on how to protect personal data. This article focuses on the handling of customer data by banks.
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