The Industry Group representing Facebook, Google, and Twitter has written a letter to the Hong Kong government. The companies may leave Hong Kong over the proposed data laws.
Last year, Facebook, Twitter, and Google suspended Hong Kong authorities’ requests for user data. This was followed by a national security law imposed by China. The companies threaten to leave Hong Kong as the proposed data law changes may lead to criminal investigations against their employees.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the story, along with a confirmation from Hong Kong authorities that have received the letter.
What Are The Proposed Hong Kong Data Laws?
The proposed Hong Kong data laws learn heavily from the 2019 protests in the region. These laws aim to stop doing or doxing, a common tactic of pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. Doxing means releasing an individual’s information online, especially with malicious intent.
For example, Hong Kong protestors have been leaking information about the families and addresses of police officers. This has resulted in a targeted assault on hundreds of police officers in the region. While the practice is causing harm to people, tech companies argue that the new laws will hold them responsible for what others post.
Why Facebook, Twitter, Google May Leave Hong Kong?
The companies have previously suspended data requests from the Hong Kong authorities. This time, it is because of the new rules to stop doxing. The companies state that the amendment is “vaguely worded” and may lead to a criminal investigation against the companies and their employees.
Facebook, Twitter, and Google in Hong Kong may end up being held responsible for doxing done by the users. While the companies are also against doxing, they threaten to leave the country if they’re blamed for what users post on their platforms.
Hong Kong has recently been a hotspot for protests. While the internet has played a big part in organizing the protests, practices like Doxing put many people at risk. A government spokesperson told the WSJ, “The amendments will not have any bearing on free speech.”