'This app wants to steal your details': why we need to get serious about what we share

'This app wants to steal your details': why we need to get serious about what we share

A local watchdog has warned young people to start taking data privacy more seriously, after HK toy-maker VTech was hacked

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Stephen Wong has warned young people to be careful with their personal information online.
Photo: Ben Pang/SCMP

The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data has reminded young people not to leave their "digital footprint" on websites and mobile apps as their personal information may be misused.

At a press conference yesterday, Stephen Wong Kai-yi said many youngsters didn't know how to protect their privacy. He was speaking after Hong Kong company VTech revealed last week that its database had been hacked and the private details of five million customers and their children may have been stolen.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data this year studied 45 local websites and apps targeting users younger than 18. The study found 16 websites (36 per cent) asked users for their ID card number, while 22 (49 per cent) may share personal data with third parties.

Wong told Young Post his office will do more to protect young people's privacy. "Our Privacy Ambassadors have been visiting various schools to try to raise their awareness about the proper use of websites," said Wong.

Wong suggested parents and teachers should set a good example "by respecting others' personal data privacy".

"When sharing children's information [such as photos, exam results and participation in sports events], parents and teachers should take into account … any harm and potential embarrassment in the future," said the privacy commissioner. "Once personal data is uploaded to the internet, it can never be deleted."

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
This app wants to steal your details

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