Human Rights First Urges Tech Companies Not To Hand Over User Data To Hong Kong

WASHINGTON — Tech companies should follow the lead of Telegram, Facebook and WhatsApp in refusing to comply with requests for user data to Hong Kong authorities, Human Rights First said today.

The companies announced that they have suspended processing of requests by the government of China for Hong Kong user data due to the lack of clarity surrounding the new national security law.

“This is a sensible move to protect users,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “The new law is so vague, anyone can be arrested for almost anything. The companies are right to examine the human rights implications of requests from Hong Kong authorities, and other tech companies should also refuse to co-operate with such requests.”

Human Rights First released a report last month on the draconian new law, which essentially allows China’s central government in Beijing to administer law in Hong Kong, and puts an end to much of Hong Kong’s political autonomy.

“Hong Kong is heading for full authoritarianism, and the tech companies have a responsibility not to roll over and enable that to happen,” said Dooley. “People in Hong Kong should feel safe that their data won’t just be turned over the government, which it could use to prosecute them.”

Human Rights First has this week released guides in Chinese and English on how to protect yourself from digital surveillance, and how to erase your internet history.


Published on July 6, 2020


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