China has announced new powers for censoring Hong Kong ‘s internet and accessing user data using its alleged national security law – but US tech companies have put up some resistance citing rights concerns. The online surveillance measures were included in a 116-page government document published on Monday night that also revealed increased powers for police, allowing for warrantless searches and monitoring for certain inquiries into national security.
A week ago, China introduced the semi-autonomous Hong Kong law banning subversion, rebellion, insurgency and collaboration with foreign powers – its language remained secret until it was enforced. Despite promises that the legislation will affect only a limited number of people, the latest details show it is the most dramatic shift in Hong Kong’s freedoms and rights since Britain handed over the city back to China in 1997.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke out late Monday against “Orwellian” attempts to censor journalists, colleges and libraries after the legislation was enforced. “Before now, Hong Kong flourished under an independent rule of law, because it allowed free thought and free expression. No more,” Pompeo said.