LC Paper No. CB(1) 189/99-00(03)

Response from ITBB

(1) Clause 3

We note that a drafting point has been raised. We are now considering, in consultation with the Law Draftsman, as to whether it is necessary to distinguish between information which is required/permitted to "be in writing, given or presented in writing" or whether a general form of wording can be adopted to cover all three scenarios. The drafting point raised can be addressed in that context.

(2) Clause 5

The question is, as we understand it, if the law permits information to be in writing, that is if the law does not specify that it must be in writing, can it exist in the form of electronic record? If so, why is "be in writing" not referred to in clause 5(2)? The answer to the first question is that if information is not required to be in writing, it may exist in the form of electronic record. As for the second, please refer to our reply to the question on clause 3.

(3) Clause 22(4)

There is no requirement under existing clause 22(4) that the Director of Information Technology Services (DITS) has to give reasons in the notice for revocation of recognition. However, we have no objection that DITS should give reasons in the notice to assist the certification authority concerned in its preparation for an appeal. We will consult the Law Draftsman and propose CSAs for the purpose.

(4) Clause 23

Under clause 23, the DITS may suspend a recognition for a period not exceeding 14 days by serving a notice of suspension on the certification authority. We do not consider that there is a need for the DITS to invite the certification authority concerned to make representations before the suspension is implemented. This will otherwise defeat the purpose of suspension which has to be carried out efficiently. However, the certification authority concerned may appeal under clause 27 to the Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting against the suspension decision of the DITS within 7 days of the date on which the suspension notice is served on the certification authority.

(5) Clause 38

It is our intention that a recognised certification authority should publish its certification practice statement for public information. We will deal with such matters of detail in the Code of Practice to be issued by the DITS under clause 39.

(6) Schedule 1

  1. We note that section 16 should be referred to in the heading of Schedule 1. We will consult the Law Draftsman and propose CSAs for the purpose.

  2. A document effecting a floating charge on immovable property is a contract for disposition of land which is required to be in writing under section 3 of the Conveyancing and Property Ordinance (Cap. 219). Moreover, while it is not an instrument affecting land and therefore is not registrable under section 2A(1) of the Land Registration Ordinance (Cap. 128), it becomes a fixed charge upon crystallization (as evidenced by a certificate signed by or on behalf of the chargee), which is registrable under section 2A(2) of the Land Registration Ordinance and has to be in writing. As such and after further consideration, we propose that the exemption in Schedule 1 should be extended to a floating charge and a fixed charge as respectively described in sections 2A(1) and (2) of the Land Registration Ordinance.

(7) Schedule 2

It is not intended that proceedings before statutory tribunals cited should fall within the scope of Schedule 2. If the provisions relating to these proceedings should be exempt from the operation of clauses 5, 6, 7 or 8 of the Bill, they will be dealt with by order under clause 11.

(8) Public consultation

We have responded to the technical points on the principles of the Electronic Transactions Bill raised by the Law Society and we enclose the related correspondence for your reference.