With the on-going smart ID card replacement initiative progressing as scheduled, residents begin to question the benefits and abilities of the new “smart ID” as its features are heavily based on digital processes, to which not everyone can easily grasp. It is for this reason that rumours are beginning to sprout from the side-lines.
This being the case, the government has once again issued a statement regarding the features of the new smart ID card, and assured the people of its security protocols and protection system in place.
Gov’t Assures Residents of HK Smart ID Card Security
In regard to this, the Immigration Department clarified that the new smart identity card has adopted multi-level safeguards to ensure the personal data stored in the card’s chip is protected, as shared in a report by news.gov.hk.
The department issued the clarification to address recent rumours claiming that the card’s new contactless technology leaves it more vulnerable to personal data theft.
Immigration authorities explained that the new card’s identity verification process is absolutely secure and accurate.
They clarified that only authorised optical card readers can interpret the chip and it that it would be impossible for readers to access its personal data without a specific algorithm or program.
Furthermore, access to chip data can only be initiated by the designated cardholder who must physically place the card onto an authorised card reader.
Accordingly, the verification process would then be conducted using the combination of an optical card reader and wireless transmission technology. Throughout this process, all communication and data transmission would be encrypted, making it extra secure from hackers and privacy attacks.
Without the cardholder physically taking out the new smart identity card, it would be impossible for others to remotely access the chip data without notice by the cardholder.
In setting up this new system, the department engaged independent consultants to conduct assessments on privacy and security impacts to ensure the card complies with the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.
The assessments conducted have confirmed that safeguards adopted have effectively prevented unauthorised access to personal data.
In an update, the department received information that several groups in the community had distributed free card protectors, claiming it would block radio frequency identification to prevent personal data theft.
To this, the department further explained that there is no case of unauthorised access to the new smart identity card and the circulating message is misleading and is causing unwarranted panic and doubts among members of the community.