Facebook, Twitter and Google threaten to leave Hong Kong over proposed data laws
HONG KONG – Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have privately warned the Hong Kong government that they may cease offering their services in the city if authorities make planned changes to the laws on data protection that could make them responsible for the malicious sharing of personal information online.
A letter sent by an industry group that includes internet businesses said the companies feared that the rules planned to fight doxing could put their staff at risk of criminal investigations or prosecution related to what company users post in. line. Doxing refers to the practice of posting people’s personal information online so that they can be harassed by others.
The Hong Kong Constitutional and Continental Affairs Office in May proposed amendments to the city’s data protection laws that it said were necessary to tackle doxing, a practice prevalent during the 2019 protests in the city. city. The proposals call for sentences of up to HK $ 1 million, the equivalent of about $ 128,800, and up to five years in prison.
“The only way to avoid these sanctions for tech companies would be to refrain from investing and offering the services in Hong Kong,” said the unpublished June 25 letter from the Asia Internet Coalition, based in Hong Kong. Singapore, which has been reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. .
Tensions have arisen between some of the most powerful corporations in the United States and authorities in Hong Kong as Beijing exercises increasing control over the city and suppresses political dissent. U.S. and other tech companies said last year they were suspending processing of requests from Hong Kong law enforcement agencies following China’s imposition of a law on national security to the city.