立場新聞 Stand News


2015/5/26 — 12:44





而且,葛議員的方案說,「自願交出病歷,我們就不會把你好人當賊辦」;「自願交出銀包,我就不會開槍」。這是哪門子的「自願」?一個人的病歷是一項私人資料,任何人,包括政府人員,如果要取得並使用一項私人資料,必須有合理的因由。人事登記辦事處可以管有市民的身份證號碼,不代表每一個政府部門都可以隨便覽閱。政府,尤其是香港政府,還未夠資格要求市民完全信任她,把個人資料,包括自身最隱密的資訊完全奉上。著名美國私隱權學者Alan Westin用「面具」來說明私隱的重要:





[1] AF Westin, Privacy and Freedom (New York: Atheneum 1968), pages 33-34

法政匯思 2015年5月26日

In response to the incident that the police wrongfully arrested a person with autism for manslaughter, Legco Member Elizabeth Quat proposed setting up a register to record the information of persons with intellectual disabilities to prevent mistakes by law enforcement agencies. The proposal has attracted ridicule, and it is unlikely to be implemented for the purposes of dealing with issues arising from the incident.

Ultimately, the problem behind the proposal is the subconsciously lurking attitude of victim-blaming. Quat has placed the focus on persons with mental disabilities, requesting that they take the initiative to solve the problem. This has diluted the attention on the fact that it was the police who should bear the responsibility. We must ask, who was the wrongdoer? After reading the record of interview, the irresistible conclusion is that the police has significant room of improvement in their way of interview. On what basis does she have a right to request persons with mental disabilities to do more, but not emphasise that the police should improve their own training first?

Furthermore, the proposal of Quat says, “Voluntarily give me your history of mental disabilities, and I will not take you wrongfully as a criminal.” “Voluntarily give me your wallet, and I will not shoot.” What kind of “voluntariness” is that? A person's medical history is his personal information. If anyone, including government officers, wants to access and use a piece of personal information, there must be a reasonable justification. The Registration of Persons Office can possess the ID numbers of our citizens, but it does not mean that every government department can browse them freely. Governments, especially the Hong Kong one, are far from qualified yet to request the citizens to place full trust on them and fully submit their personal information including the most intimate one.Alan Westin, a well-known U.S. scholar specialising in privacy rights, used the analogy of a "mask" to illustrate the importance of privacy:

“If this mask is torn off and the individual’s real self bared to a world in which everyone else still wears his mask and believes in masked performances, the individual can be seared by the hot light of selective, forced exposure. The numerous instances of suicides and nervous breakdowns resulting from such exposures by government investigation, press stories, and even published research constantly remind a free society that only grave social need can ever justify destruction of the privacy which guards the individual’s ultimate autonomy.”[1]

This is not the first example of someone showing a lack understanding and empathy towards disadvantaged groups. Past reports abound of customs and immigration officers mal-treating a transgender person, or a police officer insulting a southeast Asian person. These incidents tend not to lead to any action being taken. Currently, the Race Discrimination Ordinance does not cover discriminatory acts by the Government when performing its functions or exercising its power. There is even no law against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.

If we use “same” and “different” to classify people: in Hong Kong, most people are ethnically Chinese, this is “same”, and southeast Asians are “different’; the able-bodied are “same”, and persons with disabilities are “different”; heterosexuals are “same”, and homosexuals are “different”. There are infinite “same's” and “different's”: nationalities, places of origin, colours, body shapes, genders, preferences, appearances. Sometimes, unavoidably, we have to belong to the “different” category. At that point, do you wish those “same” people to tell you, “Because you are ‘different’, you hence have a responsibility to ‘voluntarily’ give up your rights”? [1] AF Westin, Privacy and Freedom (New York: Atheneum 1968), pages 33-34

Progressive Lawyers Group

26 May 2015