Skip to main content

9. What should I be aware of before I provide my ID card number or ID card copy to other persons?

The Code requires organizations or persons (the data users), before recording an ID card number, to consider alternatives that are less privacy intrusive. If you are not happy about a request to provide your ID card number, suggest to the requestor/data user alternatives that are reasonable and acceptable to you. For example, try to arrange for identification of yourself by someone else who is already known to the organization. An organization may be contravening the Code if it refuses to accept an alternative without a good explanation .


Compared to ID card numbers, stricter limits are imposed on the collection of ID card copies because of the greater dangers they carry in relation to possible fraud or other misuse. Generally speaking, this gives you greater justification in querying a request to provide a copy of your ID card.


The Code generally requires the data users to mark photocopies of ID cards they keep with the word "copy". This marking should be made across the entire image of the ID card. The only exception to this marking requirement you are likely to encounter is where the photocopy is going to be converted into some other form, e.g. microfilm.


If you provide a photocopy of your ID card in person to a data user, you can insist that it must be marked "copy" in your presence.


Unless otherwise required or permitted by law, data users should ensure that an ID card number and the name of the holder are not displayed together publicly.


One common situation in which a breach of the above requirement may occur is the publication of notices including individuals' names and ID card numbers in a newspaper (e.g. notices carrying the result of a lucky draw or a competition). Another is the display of notices containing individuals' names and ID card numbers on a notice board in places such as a school, an office, or the lobby of a residential building. A further one is the inadvertent disclosure of the names and ID card numbers of visitors to subsequent visitors to a building in a visitors' log-book.


Where you encounter a situation such as those described above, ask the organization/data user to stop displaying or disclosing those data (or else to justify the display/disclosure). An organization is likely to have contravened the Code if it cannot provide good justification.