Facebook, Zoom pause Hong Kong’s requests for users’ data

Microsoft and video meet platform Zoom have joined several tech giants who have decided not to process data requests from the Hong Kong authorities in the wake of China imposing a controversial new National Security Law in Hong Kong.

Apple, however, said it was still “assessing” the new rules.

A Microsoft spokesperson said on Tuesday: “In the past, we’ve typically received only a relatively small number of requests from Hong Kong authorities, but we are pausing our responses to these requests as we conduct our review”.

The company received requests for data linked to 81 accounts from Hong Kong’s government between July and December 2019, according to its latest transparency report.

A Zoom spokesperson said that they are “actively monitoring the developments in Hong Kong” and “have paused processing any data requests from, and related to, Hong Kong”.

Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Twitter and Telegram have already announced not to process official requests from the Hong Kong authorities to hand over user data for the time being.

Chinese short-video making app TikTok has said it will quit Hong Kong after China imposed a new national security law.

The national security law, which Beijing put into effect on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese rule, criminalises a wide range of behaviour and acts under four categories of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with a foreign power.

The people in Hong Kong fear that the new law can send them to jail on the basis of their social media posts and messages.

The new law requires local authorities to take steps to supervise and regulate the city’s internet.