The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance

by Raymond Poon

The Hong Kong SAR Government has recently enacted The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance (UEMO). Phase I of the Ordinance commenced operation on 1 June 2007, and Phase II will come into effect on a date to be decided and notified by Gazette, probably towards the end of 2007.

The CIO wrote to all departments on 26 June, 2007 to invite them to review their existing promotional activities in the light of the new Ordinance. Other than a number of telephone enquiries, no particular issues on compliance of the Ordinance were raised by the departments. It would appear that the sending of "unsolicited electronic messages" to an externally acquired mailing list is not a prevalent practice. The University, therefore, may not need to establish any specific policy or guidelines on the UEMO other than stipulating:

"Departments wishing to use electronic messages to send to an external mailing list to promote any University/departmental activity must observe and comply with the requirements of the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance."

In this connection, staff’s awareness on UEMO will be promoted through regular seminars, staff orientation programme, and e-learning.

A list of references on the UEMO can be found at while a list of Frequently Asked Questions summarizing the UEMO can be found at