HONG KONG | Facebook, Google and Twitter confirmed, Monday, that they no longer responded to requests for information on their users from the government and the authorities in Hong Kong, by respect for freedom of expression.
“Last Wednesday, when the act came into force, we have paused the processing of any new request of data,” said a spokesman for Google, which also includes the platform YouTube videos.
The three platforms in the world have stated that their teams were in the process of examining closely the recent national security act imposed on Hong Kong by China.
Hong Kong, a former british colony handed back to China in 1997 on the condition to maintain certain freedoms, enjoys an unlimited internet access in contrast to mainland China where these three services are, for example, blocked.
But last week, the chinese Parliament has adopted a law on national security of Hong Kong, paving the way for radical changes and a potential turn authoritarian.
“We believe that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety and without fear of other repercussions,” said a spokesman for Facebook.
The giant of social networking has also interrupted the responses to requests for messaging, WhatsApp, which reminds us that its end to end encryption protects the daily messages of up to 2 billion people in the world.
The text adopted by the communist regime of Beijing aims to crack down on subversion, secession, terrorism and the collusion with the foreign forces, in response to the protest movement launched last year against the central power in the former british colony.
“Like many organizations, of civil society leaders and peers of our industry, we are seriously concerned about the ongoing developments and the potential of this law,” commented a spokesperson from Twitter.
For its part, Facebook emphasizes that it relies on a procedure global to respond to requests from governments for information about users.
The review of each application and takes into account both the internal policy of Facebook, local laws and international standards concerning the rights of the person.
“We suspend the consideration of the requests of the government regarding the user data of Hong Kong, pending a more in-depth assessment of the national security act, including (…) consultations with international experts in the rights of Man,” detailed the spokesperson of Facebook.
Books removed from schools
In the framework of the new legislation, the government of Hong Kong has also ordered on Monday to schools to remove books that violate this law.
The school principals and teachers “must consider teaching materials, including the books” and “withdraw if they find that content out of date or that indicate that the four types of offences defined by the law, according to the department of Education of the government pro-Beijing.
This directive to the schools was announced two days after the libraries had indicated remove from their shelves the books that are likely to violate the law.
Among the authors whose titles are no longer available include Joshua Wong, one of the activists, the most famous and Tanya Chan, a deputy from the pro-democracy reputation.
The turn to authoritarian Hong Kong, which is home to a large number of financial firms in the world, is denounced in the United States.
Last week, the u.s. Senate has unanimously adopted a text supporting the “human rights and democracy” in Hong Kong, causing anger Beijing.
The senators also approved a measure that would prohibit the sale to the police in hong kong fired tear gas, rubber bullets and other equipment used to repress the demonstrations.
This goes to weapons legislation has upped a notch in tensions between Washington and Beijing, already in conflict on trade, the south China sea and the coronavirus.
For its part, the british government has decided to facilitate the access to citizenship to hong Kong in response to the new chinese law on the security.
China’s ambassador to London responded by accusing the Uk of”interfering grossly in the internal affairs” of china.