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Tech giants take stance on Beijing’s data control in Hong Kong

China Roundup: Tech giants take stance on Beijing’s data control in Hong Kong

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by Amelia Scott — 4 months ago in Business Ideas 3 min. read
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China Roundup, a digest of recent events shaping the Chinese tech landscape and what they mean to people in the rest of the world.

This week, the unprecedented national security law descended on Hong Kong, changing the day-to-day life of the people there, as well as businesses across the board.

The law has important implications for the tech sector, providing a litmus test of business sentiment towards China’s regulation over information. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, Zoom, Reddit among a roster of companies have come to voice their stance.

Resist, comply, avoid

The Hong Kong federal safety law which went into effect on July 1 is set to tighten Beijing’s grip over town.

A couple of provisions of this law straight request support suppliers to eliminate information or provide help to the authorities, as I composed previously . Here are the things the technology giants are stating in response:
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Facebook

Facebook verified it’s stopped the processing of information requirements from Hong Kong government until it may better comprehend the legislation,”including formal individual rights due diligence and consultations with all human rights specialists.” Its spokesperson explained:”

We consider freedom of expression is a basic human right and encourage the right of individuals to express themselves without fear of their security or other consequences.”

Its suspension will also apply to WhatsApp, which it owns.

Twitter

Twitter stated it suspended transfers of consumer information subject to Hong Kong requirements immediately following the legislation went into effect, and its groups are”reviewing the legislation to estimate its consequences, especially since a number of the conditions of the law are obscure and with no clear definition” Additionally, it said it’s”grave concerns regarding the the growing process and the complete intention of this legislation.”

Google

Google said it suspended its own reviews of information requests from the government. It added that it might keep on reviewing authorities asks for removals of user-generated articles from its own services.

Zoom

Zoom said it suspended its own compliance with information requests in the Hong Kong government. “Zoom supports both the open and free exchange of ideas and ideas… We are actively tracking the developments in Hong Kong SAR, such as any possible advice from the U.S. government. We’ve stopped processing any information requests from, and connected to, Hong Kong SAR.”

LinkedIn

LinkedIn, that is owned by Microsoft and conducts another mainland beholden to Chinese law, stated it’s pausing answers to local law enforcement asks as it conducts its own review of the law.

Telegram

Telegram stated it doesn’t mean to process some information requests linked to its Hong Kong users before an global consensus is attained in connection with the continuing political changes in town. Its spokesperson asserted it hasn’t disclosed any information into the Hong Kong government previously.

Signal

Signal, a rival to Telegram from the domain of information encryption, tweeted that a snarky remark:”We would declare that we are quitting too, but we never began turning over consumer information to HK authorities. Additionally, we do not have user information to flip over.”
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Tiktok

Tiktok is in a dilemma. As a Chinese-owned company, it cannot choose to defy the Chinese government. On the other hand, it cannot give more details about it being a tool of Chinese censorship.

Instead of temporarily refusing the police’s data requests like many foreign firms, which are believed to be opposing Beijing’s hold, the short video app decided to leave Hong Kong.

This is an easy business decision, as Tiktok has only a small portion of the user base in the city. Time will tell if ByteDance will roll out the censored version of Tickcock – Dion or leave the city of seven million people.

Apple

Apple has been criticized because of its proximity to the authorities of China, where it’s important business enterprise. This past year, it pulled a map which pinpointed pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.

After the enactment of this safety legislation, Apple announced it’s analyzing the principles, including that it doesn’t receive requests for consumer information straight in the Hong Kong authorities and needs government to submit requests beneath a U.S.-Hong Kong legal assistance treaty.
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Reddit

Reddit, that counts Tencent as a investor, said that its user data coverage is independent of its backers:”User solitude is a profoundly embedded value in Reddit. So far, Reddit hasn’t received requests for consumer information from the Hong Kong Government. As a matter of principle, Reddit doesn’t comply with all Government requests which have human rights implications and this won’t change as a consequence of the law. Our policies protecting consumer info are certainly not affected by our investors, and some other consequence of these influence is wrong.”

The listing isn’t exhaustive and lots of characteristics of the federal security law wait further explanation. We’ll maintain tracking how other technology businesses deal with the town’s rules.

Amelia Scott

Amelia is a content manager of The Next Tech. She also includes the characteristics of her log in a fun way so readers will know what to expect from her work.

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