Google, Facebook and Twitter Threaten to Leave Hong Kong Because of Law

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Google, Facebook and Twitter: Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google have threatened to shut down services in Hong Kong. The country is discussing a law that would make companies responsible for disseminating malicious information on the internet, which would make the companies’ operations unfeasible, according to them.

The information was released on Monday (5) in a report by The Wall Street Journal. According to the vehicle, the brands formalized the possible decision in a letter sent to the local government and signed jointly by other companies operating on the internet.

The companies’ concern is that the new policy puts employees and executives working in the country at risk, as they could be investigated and held responsible for occurrences of doxing practiced by network users. Doxing is the practice of throwing people’s data and personal information onto the internet.

The Hong Kong Office of Constitutional Affairs wants to change the local data protection law with the justification of fighting crimes such as doxing, which was quite common during the 2019 protests. People took to the streets to demonstrate their displeasure with Chinese interference in the nation’s laws, including a bill that would allow the extradition of citizens.

Sanctions and damages of the law

One of the proposals put forward by Hong Kong politicians to prevent the crime of doxing includes the payment of fines of US$ 128,800 (about R$ 654 thousand at the current rate) and penalties of five years in prison, which could be targeted for executives of internet companies, even the crimes having been committed by the users.

“The only way to avoid these sanctions for technology companies would be to refrain from investing in and offering services in Hong Kong,” reads an excerpt of the letter signed by the companies on June 25, on behalf of the Asia Internet Coalition, and published by The Wall Street Journal.

Also according to the document, the new laws are a “completely disproportionate and unnecessary response” to cybercrime and could jeopardize freedom of expression, in addition to criminalizing even “innocent acts of sharing information online”.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong Office of Constitutional Affairs revealed that the body had received the letter and argued that new laws were sorely needed as doxing “tested the limits of morality and the law”.

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