General Format, Manner and Procedure for the Submission of
Electronic Information under Law by virtue of the
Electronic Transactions Ordinance

This note aims to set out the format, manner and procedure we have stipulated under section 11(2) of the Electronic Transactions Ordinance (Cap. 553) for the submission of electronic information under law.

(1) Electronic records in English shall be encoded in American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) or ISO 10646-1:2000.

(2) Electronic records in Chinese shall be encoded in Big-5 or ISO 10646-1:2000 standard,

 
a.
where electronic records are coded in the Big-5 standard, the set of characters is restricted to that coded in the Big-5 standard or included in the Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set (HKSCS) published by the Government in 1999;

b.
where electronic records are coded in the ISO 10646-1:2000 standard, the set of characters is restricted to Chinese characters within the Chinese-Japanese-Korean (CJK) Unified Ideographs characters coded in the ISO 10646-1:2000 standard or characters in the HKSCS published by the Government in 1999.

(3) Where electronic records are compressed, the following compression standards shall be followed:

 
a.
Zip file (.zip); or

b.
GNU zip file (.gz)

(4) Electronic records shall be sent as follows:

 
a.
through electronic mail conforming to the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), and either Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (MIME) or the Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (S/MIME) standard and with size not exceeding 5 MB;

b.
in the form of 1.44MB diskette with size of 3.5 inches in MS-DOS format for files not exceeding one diskette's storage capacity; or

c.
in the form of CD-ROM in ISO 9660 format.

(5) Electronic records shall follow the following file format standards:

 
a.
Plain text (TXT);

b.
Microsoft Rich Text Format (RTF);

c.
Hypertext Mark Up Language (HTML) Format; or

d.
Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) (compatible to Acrobat version 3, 4 or 5).

(6) Graphics in electronic records shall follow the following graphic file formats:

 
a.
Encapsulated PostScript Files (EPSF);

b.
Tag Image File Format (TIFF);

c.
Portable Network Graphics (PNG);

d.
Graphics Interchange Format (GIF); or

e.
Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG).

(7) Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawings in electronic records shall follow the following CAD file format:

 
a.
Autodesk Drawing Exchange Format (DXF).

(8) An electronic record given or presented under a statutory provision must be signed with a digital signature if:

 
a.
the provision expressly requires the signature of a person; or
b.
the provision requires the submission to be made in a specified form and the specified form has a signature requirement.

(9) A digital signature shall be attached to an electronic record in accordance with the Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (S/MIME) standard and the Public-Key Cryptography Standards (PKCS#7).

(10) For an electronic record which comprises multiple electronic files and which has to be signed, each individual file shall be separately signed digitally.

(11) Electronic records given or presented shall not contain any computer instructions, including but not limited to:

 
a.
computer viruses; and

b.
macros, scripts and fields that depend on the execution environment and the execution of which will cause changes to the electronic record itself or the information system displaying the electronic record.

(12) For submission of Government forms to Government, the Electronic Government Forms (in the form of a software) should be used to generate electronic records and, if required, to make digital signatures. The format of individual supporting document, if any, attached in an electronic record should comply with all the relevant requirements specified in items 1 to 11 above.