Facebook, Twitter and Google threaten to leave Hong Kong over proposed data laws

HONG KONG: Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google privately warned the Hong Kong government that they could stop offering their services in the city if authorities continue with planned changes to data protection laws that they could hold them accountable. for malicious sharing of people’s information online.

A letter sent by an industry group that includes Internet companies said that companies are concerned that the rules planned to address doxing could put their staff at risk of criminal investigations or prosecutions related to what users of Internet. businesses post online. Doxing refers to the practice of putting people’s personal information online so that they can be harassed by others.

In May, Hong Kong’s Office of Constitutional and Continental Affairs proposed amendments to the city’s data protection laws that it said were necessary to combat doxing, a practice that prevailed during the 2019 protests in the city. The proposals call for punishments 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 June 25 letter from the Singapore-based Asia Internet Coalition, which was not previously reported. , which was reviewed by EDL.

Tensions have emerged between some of the most powerful companies in the United States and the Hong Kong authorities as Beijing exercises increasing control over the city and cracks down on political dissent. US firms and other tech companies said last year they were suspending processing of applications from Hong Kong law enforcement agencies following China’s imposition of a national security law in the city.

Source: WSJ

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