Facebook, Google and Twitter threaten to leave Hong Kong over privacy law changes

Tech firms are already at odds with the Hong Kong government, and that stress seems to be on the rise. The Wall Street Journal has learned that the Asia Internet Coalition, a tech alliance together with Facebook, Google and Twitter, has quietly warned Hong Kong that firms would cease working within the territory if officers transfer ahead with knowledge safety law amendments that might maintain firms answerable for doxxing campaigns.

The tech giants are fearful that employees may face legal investigations and even prices if customers share private data on-line, even when they did not imply any hurt. That can be a “completely disproportionate and unnecessary response” and may chill free speech, the Coalition wrote. The alliance as a substitute instructed that Hong Kong slim the scope of violations.

Hong Kong’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data acknowledged the letter’s existence, however mentioned that new measures had been wanted after doxxing pushed the “limits of morality and the law.” The Commissioner additionally insisted that the modified legal guidelines would “not have any bearing” on freedom of speech, and would not deter exterior funding within the Hong Kong area.

The amendments may very well be authorized by the top of the legislative 12 months.

The concern, as you would possibly guess, is that pro-China officers would possibly abuse the up to date legal guidelines to silence dissent. Pro-democracy activists doxxed law enforcement officials and others regularly through the 2019 protests, and there is a fear that the revised legal guidelines may very well be worded loosely sufficient that merely sharing a photograph of somebody in a public area may get each sharers and tech firms in bother. It may very well be tougher to maintain police accountable for violence, or to criticize officers for anti-democratic insurance policies.

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