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Google Will Not Respond Directly To Data Requests From Hong Kong From Now On

Google Will Not Respond Directly To Data Requests From Hong Kong From Now On
As a response to the imposition of the controversial national security law in Hong Kong in June this year, Alphabet's Google will no longer conceded to requests for data by the Hong Kong authorities and the company has said it will not provide data. This was announced by the United States based tech giant on Friday.
The US tech giant also added in the announcement that since the sweeping new law took force in June, the company had not provide any data to Hong Kong authorities and added that there would be no direct response from the company from now on to such any such request.
"As always, authorities outside the US may seek data needed for criminal investigations through diplomatic procedures," Google said in an emailed statement to the media.
Google also added that all requests for user data from Hong Kong was reviewed by it and had in fact pushed back on "overly broad ones" in order to protect the privacy of its users.
This was first reported on Friday by The Washington Post newspaper and claimed that any data requests from Hong Kong authorities would not be responded by Google in a direct manner. That implied that the form now on, Hong Kong Google would be treated by Google in the same manner as it does with mainland China in relation to handing over its users’ data on request by the government.
There have been severe criticisms of the imposition of the national security by China on Hong Kong by the administration of United States President Donald Trump which has further increased the already tense relationship between the two countries. The US has already ended the special status for Hong Kong under US law following the imposition of the national security by Beijing as a mark of protest.
The Hong Kong police was notified by Google on Thursday that any requests for data of its users by Hong Kong police and its officials will now have to be routed through a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the United States. According to the report published in the Washington Post that requests being placed through that route will pass through the US Justice Department.
Announcement of suspension of processing government requests for user data in Hong Kong was announced in July by three US tech giants - Facebook, Google and Twitter.
For a longtime the operations of tech companies out of Hong Kong has been free of any much restrictions – unlike in mainland China where many of the most popular apps of the world including Facebook and a number of platforms of Google are banned. In Hong Kong, also known as one of the major financial hubs of the world, internet access has been unaffected by the firewall imposed in mainland China.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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