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LCQ2: Promoting development of personal digital identity

Following is a question by Dr the Hon Johnny Ng and a written reply by the Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, Professor Sun Dong, in the Legislative Council today (February 22):


According to the global ranking of smart cities in 2021 released by the International Institute for Management Development, Hong Kong took the 41st place among 118 cities, and such a ranking was lower than those of other advanced cities (e.g. Singapore which took the first place and London the 22nd). There are views pointing out that implementing e-government services to improve public services and the quality of life of members of the public has become a dominant trend, but Hong Kong is still relatively lagging behind in promoting e-government and personal digital identity. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) as there are views that the coverage of personal digital identity is a core enabler for promoting e-government, whether the authorities have compiled statistics on the relevant coverage currently in Hong Kong, and whether measures or plans are in place to motivate more members of the public to register for and use personal digital identity; if so, of the details and the performance indicators for those measures or plans;

(2) as there are views pointing out that having concerns about personal privacy is one of the reasons why members of the public resist to use or register for personal digital identity, whether the authorities will draw reference from the relevant practices of overseas cities (e.g. the Government of the City of London conducting public consultation before releasing the "Smarter London Together" roadmap in 2018, and releasing an "Emerging Technology Charter for London" in 2021 to offer practical and ethical guidelines on addressing privacy concerns arising from the use of data-related technology) and take measures to allay the relevant concerns of members of the public; and

(3) as it is learnt that in recent years, quite a number of regions have actively implemented "e-Residency programmes" and introduced "digital nomad visas" to attract overseas talents and enterprises' investment, thereby helping economic development and increasing government revenue, whether the Government will implement relevant programmes; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



The global Smart City Index jointly conducted by the International Institute for Management Development and Singapore University of Technology and Design assesses individual cities' structures and technologies for its ranking. Although Hong Kong achieved good rankings in most scoring items (especially technologies), the overall ranking was affected by structural hardware facilities such as living environment and green areas.

My reply to the questions raised by Dr the Hon Ng is as follows:

(1) The Government launched the "iAM Smart" platform in end-December 2020, providing a reliable identity verification function for eligible members of the public aged 11 or above to log in to their online accounts and use various government and commercial online services, conduct online transactions, and perform digital signing with legal backing, in a simple and secure manner. As of end-January 2023, over 1.7 million people had registered for "iAM Smart". The participation rate is about 25 per cent of the 6.75 million eligible population.

In addition to the registration number, we also included a performance indicator on promoting the use of "iAM Smart" in the 2022 Policy Address. The target is to promote the annual usage of "iAM Smart" (total number of transactions) from five million in 2021 to 17.5 million in 2025.

To this end, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) adopts a diversified approach and through different channels to publicise and promote "iAM Smart" to the public. Through the online channel including the "iAM Smart" thematic website (, advertisements and animation clips on social media platforms, etc., we publicise and promote the commonly used and newly launched services to the public. We also participated in large-scale events and exhibitions (such as the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Hong Kong Computer and Communications Festival 2022, the International ICT Expo 2022 and the quarterly Smart City Roving Exhibition, etc.), and set up promotion booths in the community activities held by different district organisations and elderly service centres to help members of the public to register "iAM Smart" and answer their enquiries. In addition, the OGCIO works in collaboration with different government departments and organisations to organise joint promotion activities, such as arranging seminars for colleagues responsible for different target groups, introduce "iAM Smart" on government departments' websites and related social media platforms, and publish feature articles in departmental newsletters such as eHealth News, Library Newsletter, Civil Service Newsletter, etc.

In order to tie in with different departments in promoting their online services, the OGCIO will arrange "iAM Smart" mobile registration teams to promote and assist public to register "iAM Smart" in the office buildings of the government departments, Licensing Offices of the Transport Department, libraries, etc. Members of the public may also register "iAM Smart" at about 120 post offices and 40 self-registration kiosks throughout the territory.

Besides publicity and promotion, the OGCIO will actively consider increasing registration points and simplify the registration process so as to make it easier for members of the public to register "iAM Smart", and enjoy the convenience brought by "iAM Smart". At the same time, we will also continue to promote the adoption of "iAM Smart" in government departments as well as public and private organisations in order to provide more online services and attract members of the public to register and use "iAM Smart".

(2) The OGCIO has been strictly following the requirements of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO), and is committed to ensuring that all personal data collected, processed and used through the "iAM Smart" platform are handled strictly in accordance with the relevant requirements of the PDPO. Before launching the "iAM Smart" platform, we have consulted the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, conducted independent third-party privacy impact assessment and information technology security audit for the system, and implemented the requirements for information security and privacy protection. When launching any new functions or updates on the "iAM Smart" platform, we will also adopt the same arrangements to ensure that the personal data of the public are properly protected.

In order to let the public understand the Government's privacy protection measures in the development and operation of "iAM Smart", we explained the relevant arrangements in details and published the Privacy Policy Statement and Personal Information Collection Statement on the "iAM Smart" website. In addition, we have from time to time promoted and published information and video clips on the OGCIO's Facebook page to let the public have a better understanding about the privacy protection of "iAM Smart".

(3) The "e-Residency programmes" or "digital nomad visas" allow freelance workers to obtain some of the rights or facilitation granted to the citizens of the issuing place, or they may live and work in the issuing place. The matters concerned are complex and involve crucial topics such as taxation, finance, civil rights and obligations, etc.. The Government is still assessing the subject matter at this stage.

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