Google Will Not Respond to Direct Data Requests from Hong Kong

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On Friday, after China imposed a new national security law, Alphabet Inc’s Google said it would no longer provide data in response to requests from Hong Kong authorities.

Since June the sweeping new law took force, the tech giant had not shared any information and said that it would not directly respond to such requests henceforth.

Google said, “As always, authorities outside the U.S. may seek data needed for criminal investigations through diplomatic procedures.” It added that the giant has pushed back all requests for user data. It claims it as overly broad ones to protect the privacy of users.

Earlier on Friday, Washington Post reported that Google will stop responding to data requests from Hong Kong authorities. This also implies that from now on Google will be treating Hong Kong the same as mainland China in such dealings.

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In the past few months, the national security law has drawn sizable criticism from the administration of President Trump. The law has also raised the tensions between the U.S. and China after Washington’s decision to end the former British colony’s special status.

On Thursday, Google had officially notified police in Hong Kong that any officials who want to gains accesses need to pursue requests for data through a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the U.S., meaning that they have to route through the U.S. Justice Department, the Washington Post reported.

In July, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have suspended processing any requests from the Hong Kong government for user data. For decades, tech companies in Hong Kong have long operated freely as internet access has been unaffected by the firewall imposed in mainland China.

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