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EAC requests REO to follow up on computer theft case
The following is issued on behalf of the Electoral Affairs Commission:
     With reference to the preliminary information provided by the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) on the suspected theft of notebook computers containing voter registration particulars at the fallback venue for the Chief Executive Election, the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) today (April 11) said that it considers the REO's arrangements inappropriate. The REO's arrangements to store notebook computers containing voter registration particulars at the fallback venue in advance and to save the registration particulars of more than 3 million electors on the computers created a security risk for the information concerned, and suggests a lack of awareness. The REO should learn its lesson as a result, follow up seriously on the incident and explore improvement measures.
     The EAC has discussed with the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (CMAB) on how to properly follow up on the incident, and welcomes the CMAB's suggestion of the establishment of a task force, comprising representatives from relevant departments, to launch a thorough review of the incident. The proposed task force would help with the conduct of thorough follow-up work, provision of independent, objective and professional advice, and enhancement of credibility. The REO should fully co-operate with the task force and strictly implement its recommendations. The EAC will fully facilitate the work of the Government. It will also undertake a comprehensive review of the electoral arrangements for this Chief Executive Election as required by law and submit a report to the Chief Executive.
     The EAC appreciates that there is a need for the REO to install computers at the polling station of the Chief Executive Election to promptly verify the identity and voting eligibility of electors. However, the security risk entailed in bringing notebook computers to the venue with the registration particulars of more than three million electors is too high. In future Chief Executive Elections, the REO should, after taking operational needs into consideration, review whether notebook computers should continue to be used and, if yes, what information should be stored in the computers.
     In addition, it is highly undesirable to store the above-mentioned computers, which contained a large amount of voter registration particulars, at the fallback venue in advance. The REO should strictly scrutinise the security arrangements for the venue to ensure security.
     The EAC will continue to closely monitor the follow-up work of the REO, and again sincerely apologises to electors on behalf of the REO.
Ends/Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Issued at HKT 20:45
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