A new anti-doxxing bill in Hong Kong worries tech companies

The changes would hold tech companies accountable for published content and their employees could be prosecuted

(photo. Unsplash)

A new law anti doxxing, considered too broad, could endanger the presence of large technology companies in Hong Kong. The risks are highlighted in a letter sent by the Asia Internet Coalition (Aic) – which counts Google, Apple and Facebook among its members – to Hong Kong’s privacy commissioner for personal data. This message, obtained from the Wall Street Journal, argues that the new measures, if approved, could lead to US tech companies stop operating there, for fear of being able to become responsible for the content posted by users.

These concerns follow some amendments to the Hong Kong Personal Data Ordinance (PDPO). The changes were proposed by the privacy commissioner in response to concerns about online doxxing – i.e. the voluntary dissemination of personal data to harm someone. Once the amendments are in effect, platforms will have to comply with any government requests to remove content. A measure deemed too broad by the platforms.

Another part of the bill has raised concerns that technology company employees may be pursue individuallyand if they do not adapt to these changes.

“Local staff of foreign platforms in Hong Kong nis not responsible of platform operations, nor does it have the right to access or control to administer the contents of the online platform “Big Tech said in the letter.

“The only way to avoid these penalties for tech companies would be refrain from investing and offer its services in Hong Kong, thus depriving businesses and consumers of Hong Kong, while creating new barriers to trade “, reads the message.

The Hong Kong government reiterated that the changes to the law would only affect illegal doxxing. The leader of the city, Carrie Lam, he said, however, that officials will meet with companies concerned about the changes.

In May, the Hong Kong government announced plans to change data privacy laws after doxxing was widely used against police during the protests for democracy in 2019.

Last year, the approval of a new law on the national security forced Google, Facebook and Twitter to block all requests for data production while the law could be revised. TikTok, which does not operate in China, has ceased fully its operations in the city.

According to activists pro democracy the former British colony, officially independent of China, is seeing its citizens’ freedoms eroded at the behest of Beijing in recent years.

Categories:   Internet