Social media businesses are making moves to block Hong Kong authorities from accessing their user data, days after Beijing imposed a new national security law on the territory.
Facebook, Google, and Twitter said late last night they will temporarily block Hong Kong's law-enforcement agencies from accessing user data after the local government granted sweeping new powers to police under the law to "prevent, suppress and impose punishment for offences endangering national security."
The police will be able to search people without warrants and take down internet posts. Those who do not comply could be fined as much as $13,000 and face a two-year prison sentence.
"We believe freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
Beijing's tightening grip on Hong Kong could put region's future as an up-and-coming tech hub in jeopardy
Facebook said it would review the government for user requests from Hong Kong, "pending further assessments of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with international human rights experts". The decision also includes Instagram and WhatsApp, which the company also owns.
Google and Twitter also said that they had paused all data and information requests from Hong Kong authorities when the national security law went into effect last week.
"Our teams are reviewing the law to assess its implications, particularly as ..