Social media companies Facebook, Twitter and Google have threatened to amend the privacy law that if changes are made in it, they will leave the country.
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Facebook, Twitter and Google have warned the Hong Kong government that they could stop working in the area if authorities go ahead with planned changes to data protection laws. This law could make them liable for malicious sharing of individuals’ online information.
The Wall Street Journal reported that a letter sent by an industry group that includes Internet firms said that the companies are concerned that the rules employed to address doxing their employees may lead to criminal investigations or the firms’ users post online. may put you at risk of prosecution. The report said that doxing refers to the practice of putting people’s personal information online, so that they can be harassed by others.
A proposal to amend the data-protection law was placed in May
Hong Kong’s Bureau of Constitutional and Mainland Affairs proposed amendments to the city’s data-protection laws in May, saying it was necessary to combat doxing. Doxing is a practice that was popularized during the 2019 protests in the city. The resolution calls for a sentence of up to 1 million Hong Kong dollars, the equivalent of about $128,800, and up to five years in prison.
“The only way for technology companies to avoid these restrictions would be to refrain from investing in and offering services in Hong Kong,” said a June 25 letter from the Singapore-based Asia Internet Coalition, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Tensions have flared between some of America’s most powerful firms and Hong Kong officials as Beijing tightens control over the city and tightens its grip on political discontent.
Law may come into force by the end of this year
Hong Kong’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data acknowledged the letter but said new legislation was needed because doxing crossed the limits of ethics and law. Along with this, the commissioner also said that this change in the law “will have no effect” on freedom of expression, and will not prevent external investment in the Hong Kong region. Changes made in the law can be approved by the end of this year.
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