Hong Kong’s new data law could affect big tech operations in Asia

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the government of China says he intends to prevent the leakage of personal data become a common tool of intimidation against its citizens. To that end, it prepared a bill to reform Hong Kong’s data protection law. In a move that has alerted tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Apple and Twitter last week.

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In particular, an attempt is made to mitigate the doxxing (a term meaning “document release” in Portuguese), which is the act of revealing identifying information about someone on the internet.

Doxxing gained prominence in China in 2019 during the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. At the time, police and judicial officials involved in lawsuits against activists reported being targeted by the leaks.

The practice basically consists of leaking the victim’s private information (such as home address, phone numbers, CPF, personal photos, bank accounts and various other data) on the internet, for purposes that include registering the victim’s name on a content site adult, even identity theft, harassment, threats, cyber bullying and face-to-face stalking.

However, reformulating the law that defines the management of personal information should spill over into the companies that handle this data. In the Chinese case, the new regulation suggests holding companies responsible if there is “malicious” sharing, including the investigation of company employees for criminal acts, plus fines of up to US$ 128,000 and imprisonment for up to five years.

But the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), a Singapore-based consortium of technology companies that includes Google, Facebook, Twitter and Apple, has already warned Chinese officials that the legislation appears to be “too broad”.

To get an idea, it will be possible that the registration and disclosure of the action of public agents, even in controversial cases such as police violence, can be classified as “personal data”, including as part of the criminal practice the platforms used for information leaks .

Hong Kong officials are expected to meet with officials who have expressed concern about the new bill. The government, however, wants the project approved as soon as possible.