Technology companies have long been at loggerheads with the Hong Kong government, and tensions appear to be mounting. Behind the scenes, Facebook, Google and Twitter have warned Hong Kong that they will shut down if the country does not change its data protection laws. These laws hold companies accountable for publishing the personal information of individuals and organizations.
According to reports Wall street Journal, A coalition of technology companies called the Asia Internet Coalition, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, are worried that their employees will be prosecuted and charged for publishing private information by users of these platforms.
The coalition says Hong Kong’s action is a completely inappropriate and unnecessary reaction that could harm freedom of expression. Instead, they have suggested that the Hong Kong government narrow the scope of the violations. The Hong Kong Commissioner for Privacy has confirmed the letter, but says such regulations need to be implemented in the wake of recent “doxing” campaigns that violate ethical and legal boundaries.
The Hong Kong government official stressed that the new laws would have no effect on freedom of expression and that its scope would be limited to the country. The laws are expected to be passed by the end of this year.
Technology companies and experts are concerned that the new laws will allow pro-Chinese officials to crack down on dissent. Pro-democracy activists leaked information about police officers and other government officials during the 2019 protests.
There is now a concern that the new rules will be regulated in such a way that even the publication of a picture of a person in a public environment will trouble not only the user but also technology companies. With the passage of these laws, it will be more difficult than ever to hold the police accountable for violence or criticism of politicians’ undemocratic actions.