It was revealed that Facebook, Google, and Twitter discreetly alerted the Hong Kong authorities about the prospect of terminating service supply in the city. If a new legislation on the protection of personal data goes into effect, company personnel will be held criminally liable for the activities of users who post data about other individuals on the Internet with the intent of damaging them.
We’re talking about a bill aimed at combating doxing, which is the practice of obtaining and disseminating personal information about someone on the Internet without their consent in order to hurt them. IT giants have expressed fear that their personnel could face criminal charges as a result of statements uploaded by users.
Remember that the Hong Kong Bureau of Constitutional and Mainland Affairs recommended revisions to the data protection law in May of this year, which the department claims are necessary to combat doxing. During the 2019 protests, when data from security officials involved in conflicts with protestors was uploaded on the Internet, this behavior was widespread. Doxing is now punishable by a punishment of HK $ 1 million (about $ 129,000) and up to five years in prison, according to the changes.
In a letter to the Hong Kong Data Privacy Commissioner, Asian Internet Coalition Managing Director Jeff Paine said that while coalition members oppose doxing, vague wording in the legislative amendments allows companies and their employees to become involved in legal proceedings and be subject to criminal prosecution for the actions of social network users, which he believes is unfair.
Facebook, Google, and Twitter representatives all declined to comment on the topic, but verified that the letter was sent on behalf of the Asian Internet Coalition. The Hong Kong Legislative Council will be presented with amendments to prevent doxing later this year, and the measure is expected to be passed by the end of the year.