Internet giants fear security law in Hong Kong

Internet giants fear security law in hong kong

Fearing the new law to protect national security in hong kong, crude internet companies are distancing themselves from law enforcement officials in china’s special administrative region.

Popular international video platform tiktok announced its intention to withdraw from the hong kong market altogether. Chinese parent company bytedance confirmed, according to media reports, that the international tiktok service would be discontinued "in light of recent events" in hong kong.

However, the censored chinese platform version "douyin", which is available in the communist people’s republic, will continue to be operated in the asian business metropolis.

Internet companies and platforms such as facebook, whatsapp, google, twitter, telegram, zoom and linkedin have announced that they will not respond to possible requests for user data from hong kong authorities for the time being. Facebook to consult human rights experts beforehand on impact of new law.

The video platform zoom wants to review the situation, including "potential requirements of the U.S. Government", as quoted by the newspaper "hong kong free press". If the companies do not cooperate, their services could be blocked in hong kong, as is already the case today in the people’s republic.

The law requires service providers to "provide proof of identification or assistance in decryption" upon request. The far-reaching, draconian law is directed against activities that are considered separatist, subversive and terrorist from peking’s point of view. It gives chinese security agencies far-reaching and uncontrolled powers in hong kong, allows extradition to china and provides for life imprisonment as the maximum penalty.

Since the return to china in 1997, the former british crown colony has been governed autonomously as a separate territory according to the principle of "one country, two systems. But with the law and the arbitrary deployment of chinese state security in hong kong, the previously protected freedoms and rights of the seven million hongkongers will be severely curtailed, according to independent lawyers. Critics today see only "one country, one system".

Secrecy around law and its implementation continues. Government leader carrie lam stressed that the newly created security commission in hong kong would work in secret. She was also evasive in answering journalists’ questions about the future of press freedom. She does not want to give a guarantee, because the journalists were also not given a 100 percent guarantee that they were not violated the law.

"The hongkong security authorities are using the vacuum they have created in the rule of law through the still unpublished details of the security law to proceed with completely unpredictable arbitrariness," criticized the chairwoman of the human rights committee of the bundestag, gyde jensen (FDP). "This is naturally calculated to spread maximum fear among the population and to destroy the city’s liberal heritage."

Jensen criticized inactivity on the part of the federal government and the EU. The USA, great britain and australia had drawn consequences. Now even corporations like facebook and telegram are "further along than the german federal government and the EU," the human rights politician pointed out. Berlin is engaging in "shameful avoidance of confrontation" with beijing.

With the withdrawal of tiktok from hong kong, the chinese internet company bytedance once again demonstrates its long-running efforts to separate the international platform from its chinese version. The chinese company is viewed with suspicion abroad because of possible proximity to china’s authorities and the handling of personal data. In the tensions over the border dispute with china, india had even banned tiktok and 58 other chinese apps, which could lead to billions in losses for bytedance.

U.S. Secretary of state mike pompeo did not rule out a ban on tiktok in the u.S. Market. "We take this very seriously. We’re definitely looking at it," pompeo said on fox news on monday evening (local time). He had been asked about whether the U.S. Government should consider banning social media from china and tiktok in particular.


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