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Facebook and WhatsApp halts reviews of Hong Kong demands for user data

Facebook and WhatsApp halts reviews of Hong Kong demands for user data

Facebook has confirmed it has suspended processing calls for for person knowledge from Hong Kong authorities following the introduction of a brand new Beijing-imposed nationwide safety legislation.

A spokesperson for the social networking big advised TechCrunch it is going to “pause” the processing of knowledge calls for till it might probably higher perceive the brand new nationwide safety legislation, “together with formal human rights due diligence and consultations with human rights specialists.” The spokesperson added: “We consider freedom of expression is a elementary human proper and help the precise of individuals to specific themselves with out concern for his or her security or different repercussions.”

Facebook stated its suspension may even apply to WhatsApp, which it owns.

News of the suspension was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Tech giants have lengthy seen Hong Kong as a pleasant outpost in Asia as a semi-independent metropolis nation state, albeit beneath the management of Beijing beneath its “one nation, two programs” rules. Hong Kong has far higher freedoms from mainland China, the place authorities surveillance and censorship is widespread.

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But the brand new nationwide safety legislation, imposed unilaterally by the Chinese authorities on June 30, successfully undermines any protections Hong Kong nationals had. The legislation removes provisions for authorities to require a courtroom order earlier than it might probably demand knowledge from web corporations, like Facebook.

One trade chief, who chairs the Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association, stated web suppliers would have little alternative however to adjust to the brand new legislation.

The transfer is prone to put Facebook — and different tech giants that observe in its footsteps — on discover with Beijing, which already has sweeping bans towards some Western tech giants, like Facebook and Twitter, on the mainland. WhatsApp is very in style in Hong Kong, alongside Telegram and WeChat.

Facebook’s transparency report exhibits the social media big acquired 384 calls for for person knowledge from Hong Kong authorities final 12 months, the latter half of the 12 months noticed Facebook adjust to fewer than half of all calls for.

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Messaging app Telegram additionally reportedly stated Monday that it’ll now not course of knowledge requests from Hong Kong authorities.

US plans to rollback particular standing could erode Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem

EditorialTeam

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