Hong Kong Anti-drug Act allows blocking social media access


The Hong Kong government will have the right to restrict local access to the world’s largest technology platform in accordance with legislation in order to punish the “doxing” illegal behavior that is expected to be passed this year.

These measures are the latest efforts made by the government to strengthen control of civil liberties in the territory following the democratic protests in 2019. Critics and supporters of the government at the time Engage in beating By posting personal information about police, legislators, journalists and protesters online.

However, the anti-doping bill that will amend Hong Kong’s privacy law has been criticized for being too broad, leaving Internet service providers and citizens vulnerable to arbitrary charges and unfair prosecution. Critics say it can also be used to restrict freedom of speech.

The amendment introduced the city Pro-government legislature Monday, a few days after the Biden administration took office Give a stern warning One year after Beijing implemented comprehensive national security laws, American companies operating on Chinese territory face risks.

In recent months, the authorities have imposed other restrictions on information, such as restricting access Data from the Companies Registry Censorship of films deemed to threaten national security.

Hong Kong democratic faction “Apple Daily” frequently criticizes the government recently Closed under political pressurePolice on Wednesday arrested more senior editors working for the tabloid, including former editor-in-chief Lin Wenzhong.

Lin Wenzhong, former executive editor of Apple Daily, celebrated the paper’s last edition in Hong Kong last month © Tyrone Si/Reuters

According to the privacy law amendment, if the company fails to comply, Hong Kong can order platforms such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter to delete content classified as doxing and prevent local access to the platform.

Employees of technology companies headquartered in or entering Chinese territory may also face imprisonment for failing to delete such materials based on the enormous powers that will be granted to the city’s privacy commissioner.

“It makes me nervous,” said Paul Haswell, technical partner at Pinsent Mason Hong Kong. “The punishment for human flesh searches is the harshest in the world.”

Employees who fail to remove the materials may face two years in prison and a fine of 100,000 Hong Kong dollars (12,865 U.S. dollars). Individuals convicted of doxing may face 5 years in prison and a fine of 1 million Hong Kong dollars.

Supporters of the legislation believe that strict rules need to be established Curb the abuse of personal information.

“In view of causing serious injuries to the police and their families and other victims, heavy fines must be imposed,” the city’s pro-Beijing MP Holden Zhou told the Financial Times.

However, the Asian Internet Alliance, a lobbying group representing American Internet companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter, caveat Last month, legislation may force technology groups to stop providing services in Hong Kong because their employees face higher risks. AIC later added that none of their members planned to leave the city.

The Secretary of Hong Kong’s Constitution and Mainland Affairs, Donald Tsang, tried to appease technology companies on Monday. “If the employees of these companies in Hong Kong are only responsible for general marketing or administrative work and have no right to take action on’doxing’ content, then they don’t have to worry too much about legal liability,” he said. .

The AIC stated that the planned laws are too vague because they do not clearly define doxing or the “psychological harm” caused by it, which will be used as a test for prosecution.

The existence of Hong Kong’s large social media platforms and search engines supports Hong Kong’s Attraction to international companies Compared with mainland China, access to information in mainland China is restricted by a system called a “firewall”.

Media companies may also violate legislation. Attorney Haswell warned that it is not clear whether posting a photo of someone without permission can count as a human search.

However, supporters of the bill say that the existing exemptions cover normal news reports.

The head of a US law firm in Hong Kong said that in view of anti-doping legislation and the Biden administration’s notice, international business groups have requested a new risk assessment.

The lawyer said: “It is more urgent to communicate the potential impact of this issue back to headquarters than I have seen before.”

Additional reporting by Mercedes Ruhr in Singapore

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