American Internet Giants Return to Hong Kong Doxxing Law


An industry group representing the largest American internet companies has warned the Hong Kong government that changes to the city’s data protection laws could affect companies’ ability to provide services in the city.

The June 25 letter, which came to the fore with sweeping new rules created to prevent doxxing, the targeted disclosure of an individual’s private information, was the latest sign of the dilemma facing tech companies in Hong Kong. government created tough new rules to check what is said online.

Once a haven of internet freedom on the verge of China’s tightly controlled internet, Hong Kong is home to the offices and servers of many major internet companies. Yet under a recent national security law, the city faces a new digital reality where authorities have broad surveillance and censorship powers. This has increasingly called into question the viability of continued operations for large internet companies.

Singapore-based Asian Internet Coalition, which represents Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and other tech companies. warned in the letter It said the new rules would “result in a serious impact on the legal process and risks to freedom of expression and communication”

Of particular concern, according to the letter, were the general statements that could authorize police fines and arrest local employees if tech companies do not respond to the new doxxing rules.

“The only way for tech companies to avoid these sanctions would be to avoid investing and providing services in Hong Kong, thereby depriving Hong Kong businesses and consumers, while also creating new barriers to trade,” the coalition wrote.

The Asian Internet Coalition said in a statement that the letter reflects an industry view, not a specific company’s policies or plans. Wall Street Journal first reported the existence of the letter.

Since the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests in 2019, discussions about online speech have often focused on doxxing. After police stopped wearing identifying signs during protests, a number of sites and channels have been cropped up to identify police. Pro-police sites also posted information about the protesters.

Authorities have already used national security law to block the practice. In January, first website known to be shut down under law He had published personal information about the police. Under the new rules, anyone who shares personal information with the intent to harass, threaten or intimidate could face up to five years in prison and fines of more than 100,000 US dollars.

Doxxing is just one part of an ongoing proxy war for internet freedoms in the city. Shortly after the law went into effect, Facebook, Google and Twitter said they suspended responding to data requests from Hong Kong authorities. Last month, police in the city filed the law to briefly shut down a website calling for unity among expatriate Hong Kongers in the pro-democracy movement.

tiffany may contributing reporting.


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