Does Hong Kong Need a Coherent Policy on Cross Border Data Flows to Really Be Smart?

Co-author: Ronald Yu & Bryan Mercurio

In Smart Cities in Asia: Regulations, Problems, and Development by Thanh Phan & Daniela Damian

Publisher: Springer

Publish date: 29 May 2022, open access, p. 49-63

Abstract: Data flows are becoming ever more important to smart cities. Owing to the plethora of interconnections, an action in one area can result in unintended consequences elsewhere–and while a holistic approach to managing data and data flows sounds desirable, it remains to be seen whether such an approach is achievable. This chapter will explore the conflicting legal and other issues smart cities face, including how to provide access to tools and data to enable creation of apps, content, or products and adapt products for local and global needs; how to encourage use and deployment of data-dependent systems such as artificial intelligence (AI); and how to allow companies to fulfil obligations to provide customer support, enable commercial transactions or the flow of digital currencies. Using Hong Kong as a case study, the chapter overviews Hong Kong’s quest to be a smart city, measures its progress against an objective, then evaluates the potential downsides of Hong Kong’s laissez-faire approach to regulation before advocating for the establishment of a coordinated framework and policy for managing cross-border data flows.

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