Equal Opportunities Commission


EOC Policies

Telephone Recording Policy for Service Users

1 Introduction

The purposes of recording the telephone conversations between staff of the Equal Opportunities Commission (“EOC”) who handle enquiries and complaints and service users/prospective service users (collectively the “Service Users”) are:
  1. to enhance the service quality in handling enquiries and complaints;
  2. to protect both the Service Users and EOC staff from abusive, harassing, threatening or obscene words or language in calls; and
  3. to enable the EOC to deal with the situations involving disputes or complaints from Service Users against the EOC and/or its staff in relation to the relevant services provided by the EOC;
The EOC uses an automated telephone recording system (“Telephone Recording System”) to record telephone conversations (“Telephone Conversations”) between applicable EOC staff and Service Users.
The EOC may collect and retain personal data of Service Users during the operation of the Telephone Recording System. The EOC and its staff shall comply with all the applicable requirements under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap. 486) (“PD(P)O”) and the Six Data Protection Principles (“DPPs”) under the PD(P)O.

2 Application

The Telephone Recording System may record all incoming and outgoing calls between Service Users and the following categories of the EOC staff:
  1. staff who handle complaints and enquiries in Complaint Services Division (from Assistant Officer to Senior Officer level);
  2. staff in the Service Improvement Team;
  3. staff at the reception desk (i.e. staff who man the EOC’s hotline); and
  4. staff with designated job roles and functions that the senior management of the EOC (i) from time to time considers it necessary to record their telephone conversations with external parties; and (ii) has given approval of such recording accordingly.

Notification of the Telephone Recording System to Service Users

The EOC will make reasonable efforts to communicate to Service Users that telephone calls may be recorded. This is done by:
  1. including a pre-recorded telephone message for all incoming calls from Service Users to the EOC, notifying Service Users that all of their telephone conversations with EOC staff may be recorded and the purposes for the recording;
  2. informing Service Users at the outset of outgoing calls, prior to starting conversations, that the calls may be recorded and the purposes of doing so1; and
  3. informing Service Users about the purposes of telephone recording and the Personal Information Collection Statement and Privacy Policy Statement ("Statement") of the EOC in the [“About the EOC/EOC Policies”] section on the EOC’s website.
Telephone recording starts automatically once a call is connected, and this function cannot be switched off manually in any case.
If a Service User refuses to have his/her conversation recorded, he/she may consider contacting the EOC by other means such as in writing, by fax, e-mail, or by visiting the EOC Office.

3 Types of Personal Data

When the applicable EOC staff as defined in paragraph 2.1 above have telephone calls with Service Users, they may collect personal information when it is necessary to do so or when the Service Users voluntarily provide their personal information to the EOC staff members. (See the Personal Information Collection Statement and Privacy Policy Statement of the EOC for the details of the purposes of the collecting such personal information and the EOC’s Privacy Policy.)
The EOC staff may collect the following information from a Service User:
  1. his/her name;
  2. his/her job title at his/her company;
  3. his/her contact number;
  4. his/her email address and/or fax number;
  5. his/her address; and
  6. any other personal information of the Service User which may enable the staff of the EOC to provide the services which the Service User is seeking in the Telephone Conversations.

4 Use of Personal Data Contained in Telephone Recording Records

The EOC may use or disclose the personal data obtained from telephone recording record for any of the following purpose(s):
  1. handling and following-up on enquiries and complaints from Service Users2;
  2. carrying out any of its statutory functions;
  3. improving and monitoring of the EOC’s services to meet the needs of Service Users;
  4. conducting research for service improvements;
  5. notifying an EOC insurer in relation to a claim or defending a claim which a Service User involved as a party;
  6. sending information and materials regarding the services of the EOC to Service Users (subject to consent given by Service Users);
  7. complying with any laws, regulations or guidelines issued by regulatory or other authorities;
  8. any other purposes agreed by Service Users; and
  9. purposes relating to any of the above.
                  Your personal data shall not be kept longer than is necessary to fulfil the purpose (including any directly related purpose) for which the data is to be used.

5 Security and Maintenance of Telephone Recording Records

The Telephone Recording System server and the relevant back-up server(s) storing the telephone recording data (“Telephone Records”) are physically kept securely in the premises of the EOC Office and protected with adequate security measures against any unauthorised access.
Telephone Records will only be retrieved and/or used by authorised staff with the prior approval given by the senior management of the EOC.

6 Retention Period of Telephone Recording Records

The EOC may retain the Telephone Records for a period of up to one year from the date of the recorded Telephone Conversations unless there is a subsisting reason that obliges the EOC to retain the telephone recording records for a longer period.
Recorded Telephone Conversations may be retained for a period of longer than one year from the date of the telephone conversation in any of the following situation(s):
  1. Erasure of the record is prohibited under any laws;
  2. There is an ongoing complaint/ dispute/ litigation against the EOC (and/or its staff) to which the records are relevant;
  3. There are contractual obligations on the part of the EOC to retain the record;
  4. There is an incident reported or an incident is suspected to have occurred which obliges the EOC to retain the telephone recording records for a longer period; and
  5. Prior approval has been obtained from the senior management of the EOC.

7 Access to Personal Data Derived from Telephone Records

Under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, an individual (the “Data Subject”) whose personal data is collected by the EOC during the operation of the Telephone Recording System may make a request (“data access request”) for a copy of his/her personal data derived from the telephone recording records by completing a Data Access Request Form and/or request the EOC to correct any incorrect Personal Data in writing and submit it to the EOC according to the EOC’s Privacy and Data Protection Policy and Practices.
For details, please visit the Privacy and Data Protection Policy and Practices”.
The EOC will handle the data access request and data correction request in accordance with PD(P)O and will make reasonable attempts to verify that the identity of the Requestor who makes the data access request. The Requestor concerned may be required to acknowledge receipt of the requested data in writing when such data is provided to him/her
The EOC will charge a fee for the processing of a data access request.

8 Security Control over Holding of Telephone Recording Records

The EOC will dispose of the recorded Telephone Conversations after their respective retention periods as laid down in paragraph 6 above.
The recorded Telephone Conversations that has been approved to be retained for a period longer than the prescribed retention period in paragraph 6 shall be erased at the earliest practicable opportunity when the record is not used for any of the purposes set out in paragraph 1 or upon the elapse of the approved period, whichever is earlier.
If the EOC outsources the erasure work to a service provider, the EOC will adopt contractual or other means to ensure that the service provider shall comply with the applicable requirements under the PD(P)O and the EOC’s Policies pertaining to the handling of personal data when handling and erasing the personal data contained in the telephone recording records.

1Applicable to those Service Users who have not been informed of telephone recording before by the EOC.

2The recorded Telephone Conversations will not be treated as the alternative records of Service Users’ complaints and their legal assistance applications. Service Users should note that any such complaints and applications for legal assistance under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance, the Disability Discrimination Ordinance and the Race Discrimination Ordinance shall be submitted in writing by way of prescribed form (if any) to the EOC instead

Revised in January 2020