Udayavni Special

Social media companies block requests on Hong Kong user data


PTI, Jul 7, 2020, 2:02 PM IST

Hong Kong: Social media platforms and messaging apps including Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Google, and Twitter say they will deny law enforcement requests for user data in Hong Kong while studying ramifications of a national security law enacted last week.

Facebook and it’s messaging app WhatsApp said in separate statements Monday that they would freeze the review of government requests for user data in Hong Kong, “pending further assessment of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with international human rights experts.”

The policy changes follow the rollout last week of laws prohibiting what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities, or as foreign intervention in the territory’s internal affairs.

The legislation criminalizes some pro-democracy slogans like the widely used “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our time,” which the Hong Kong government says has separatist connotations.

The fear is that the new law erodes the freedoms of the semi-autonomous city, which has operated under a “one country, two systems” framework after Britain handed the colony to China in 1997.

That framework has allowed Hong Kong and its people freedoms not found in mainland China, such as unrestricted internet access.

Spokesman Mike Ravdonikas said Monday that Telegram understands “the importance of protecting the right to privacy of our Hong Kong users.”

Telegram has been used broadly to spread pro-democracy messages and information about the protests in Hong Kong.

“Telegram has never shared any data with the Hong Kong authorities in the past and does not intend to process any data requests related to its Hong Kong users until an international consensus is reached in relation to the ongoing political changes in the city,” he said.

Twitter also paused all data and information requests from Hong Kong authorities after the law went into effect last week, the company said. It is studying the implications of security law.

“Like many public interest organizations, civil society leaders and entities, and industry peers, we have grave concerns regarding both the developing process and the full intention of this law,” the company said in a statement.

Twitter emphasized that it was “committed to protecting the people using our service and their freedom of expression.”

Likewise, Google said in a statement that it too had “paused production on any new data requests from Hong Kong authorities” and will continue reviewing details of the new law.

Social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp have operated freely in Hong Kong, while they are blocked in the mainland by China’s “Great Firewall.”

Though social platforms have yet to be blocked in Hong Kong, users have begun scrubbing their accounts and deleting pro-democracy posts out of fear of retribution. That retreat has extended to the streets of Hong Kong as well.

Many of the shops and stores that publicly stood in solidarity with protesters have removed the pro-democracy sticky notes and artwork that adorned their walls.

Hong Kong’s government late Monday issued implementation rules of Article 43 of the national security law, which give the city’s police force sweeping powers in enforcing the legislation and come into effect Tuesday.

Under the rules, platforms, publishers and internet service providers may be ordered to take down any electronic message published that is “likely to constitute an offense endangering national security or is likely to cause the occurrence of an offense endangering national security.”

Service providers who do not comply with such requests could face fines of up to 100,000 Hong Kong dollars ($12,903) and receive jail terms of up to six months.

Individuals who post such messages may also be asked to remove the message or face similar fines and a jail term of one year.

Critics see the security law as Beijing’s boldest step yet to erase the legal firewall between the former British colony and the mainland’s authoritarian Communist Party system.

Top News

MP CM urges people to light lamps at home for Ayodhya event

‘It is inappropriate’: Bihar CM reacts to Patna IPS officer’s ‘forcible quarantine’ in Mumbai

Will go for Ramlala’s darshan after PM, others leave: Bharti

Chinese firm is IPL sponsor, but people told to boycott goods: Omar Abdullah

K’taka: Govt to provide interest-free loans of upto Rs. 2 lakhs for dairy farming and fisheries

India’s COVID-19 case tally crosses 18 lakh; recoveries surge to 11.86 lakh

TA jawan goes missing in JK, his burnt vehicle found



Related Articles More

SpaceX capsule and NASA crew make first splashdown in 45 years

Afghan forces kill Pak-origin intelligence head of ISIS-Khorasan

Suicide car bomb, gunmen attack prison in east Afghanistan

Afghan forces kill Pakistan-origin intelligence head of ISIS-Khorasan

Rishi Sunak wants ethnic minorities on UK coins

MUST WATCH

Success story of Khajane Agricultural farm | Mangosteen Rambutan | Udayavani

Sushant Singh Rajput Death Mystery | Udayavani Straight Talk

Rangayya Naik | Life Lessons by Farmer | Udayavani

How To Grow Mangosteen Fruit | FULL INFORMATION

Message by G Jagadeesh for the diagnosis and treatment of 2019 novel coronavirus

Latest Additions

MP CM urges people to light lamps at home for Ayodhya event

Sushant Singh Rajput’s sisters remember their beloved brother on Raksha Bandhan

‘It is inappropriate’: Bihar CM reacts to Patna IPS officer’s ‘forcible quarantine’ in Mumbai

Mangaluru: MLA Bharath Shetty announces prizes for setting up greenery

Akshay Kumar to feature in Aanand L Rai”s ”Rakshabandhan”

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.