The top tech giants are reviewing the new Chinese security law imposed upon Hong Kong which stifles dissent, protests, and free speech.
Facebook, Twitter, and Google are responding to a law that went into effect in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020. They are suspending the processing of any data requests from the Hong Kong government. Google responded immediately, while the other two have just done so recently.
Typically social media platforms make private user information available when requested with a valid court order. However, with their new position they have all agreed to temporarily ignore any requests for data originating from the government of Hong Kong.
The new policies come as a direct response to China’s new “national security” law in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has traditionally enjoyed more freedoms above and beyond what is found in mainland China. But now China is exerting their control and power on Hong Kong and the new law has eroded those freedoms. It has led to widespread protests throughout Hong Kong.
It’s anticipated that the Chinese government could start issuing court orders for private user details in an effort to curb any dissent and increase their censorship radius. Persons that use the platform would be subject to internal government penalties once the Chinese government deemed them a “security risk.” By revealing the data to the authorities the social platform would be complicit to any human rights violations or abuses stemming from the release of the data. Obviously the social platforms are aware of this to a degree and are interested in minimizing their exposure or what some may view as condoning the activity.