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Major Events on the Development of the Electronic Transactions Ordinance ("ETO")

Date Major Events Details References
Jan 2024 Enactment of the updated ETO
  • Extend the scope of application of section 5A of the ETO so as to allow service of a document in the form of an electronic record where the document is required or permitted to be served on a person under a statutory provision set out in Schedule 3 to the ETO. In case such the provision requires or permits more than one copy of the document to be served on the person, service of a single copy of the document in such form world suffice.
Dec 2007 Publication of 2008 Digital 21 Strategy
  • The ETO provides the legal framework for the conduct of e-business and recognition of digital signatures for secure electronic transactions.
  • With growing community awareness of the lurking threats to information security, the availability of a Public Key Infrastructure is vital to safeguard the continued development of e-business.
  • The Government will continue to improve the user-friendliness and portability of digital certificates services to facilitate the conduct of e-government and e-commerce transactions commensurate with the required level of authentication in a simple and secure manner.
Jun 2004 Enactment of the updated ETO
  • Give legal recognition to other forms of electronic signature, in addition to digital signature, for transactions not involving the Government;
  • Accept the service of documents in the form of electronic record as satisfying the requirement of service by post or in person under the statutory provisions set out in the new Schedule 3 to ETO; and
  • Introduce changes relating to the assessment of certification authorities ("CAs") so as to improve the operation of the voluntary recognition scheme for CAs.
Jan 2000 Enactment of the ETO
  • Establish a clear legal framework for e-commerce development in HK, which -
    • give electronic records and digital signatures used in electronic transactions the same legal status as that of their paper-based counterparts; and
    • establish a framework to promote and facilitate the operation of CAs so as to ensure trust and security in electronic transactions.
Nov 1998 Publication of 1998 Digital 21 Strategy
  • One of the initiatives is to establish a Public Key Infrastructure in Hong Kong to promote the competitiveness and economic growth of Hong Kong.