Tech giants threaten to leave Hong Kong over data-protection laws

Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have threatened the Hong Kong government that if authorities proceed with new data-protection laws that may hold them accountable for the harmful sharing of individuals’ information online, they would cease to provide services in the city.


The tech companies are concerned that the proposed doxing rules could expose their employees to criminal investigations or prosecutions as a result of what their users publish online.


Doxing is the practice of publishing people’s personal information on the internet so that others might harass them.


In May, Hong Kong’s Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau proposed amendments to the Hong Kong data-protection laws, claiming that they were necessary to combat doxing.


A fine of up to one million Hong Kong dollars and up to five years in prison is also included in the proposed new law.


The only way for tech companies to avoid these sanctions is to stop investing and providing services in Hong Kong.


Due to doxing offenses by users of tech platforms, the proposed new law might expose corporations and local employees to criminal investigations and prosecution.


The new anti-doxing laws will be presented to the Hong Kong Legislative Council in the form of a bill that is expected to be adopted by the end of the legislative year.


The tech industry is concerned, and depending on how the legislation is drafted, anyone working in the city could be held liable for what users publish.


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