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Sat September 25 2021

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Hong Kong to install more smart lamp posts

10 Mar 20 A study has recommended that Hong Kong’s government should take forward a pilot scheme to install multi-functional smart lamp posts, while keeping privacy issues in mind.

The report carried out for the government by the Multi-functional Smart Lampposts Technical Advisory Ad Hoc Committee unanimously recommends the roll-out. It said that smart lampposts are a key digital infrastructure for promoting smart city development and facilitating 5G mobile network implementation in Hong Kong.

After reviewing the design and operation of smart lampposts as well as the functions and technologies employed for applications, the committee supported installation of devices that do not have privacy concerns. These include LED lighting, meteorological sensors, air quality sensors, thermal detectors as well as radio-frequency identification tags, Geo-QR codes and Bluetooth beacons to identify a lamppost's location.

The committee noted that the government has complied with the requirements of Hong Kong’s personal data ordinance but recommended some measures to address public concern over potential privacy issues on some of the applications. It suggested using more privacy-friendly technologies as substitutes for cameras and Bluetooth detectors.

It also advised setting up a rigorous, credible and transparent governance mechanism to review and approve any new smart lamppost application before installation, and make the decision fully transparent to the public.

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The government should engage independent third-party professionals to conduct regular security and privacy reviews of smart lamppost technologies, functions, applications and devices in accordance with relevant laws and international standards, the committee added.

Government chief information officer and committee convenor Victor Lam said the government would refine the pilot scheme's applications and implementation arrangements in accordance with the committee's recommendations. He added that the government will seek the support of district councils for continuing with the implementation work.

The committee was set up in August 2019 and tasked to strengthen data security and personal privacy protection and instil public confidence in smart lamp posts.

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