Apple ‘Assessing’ Hong Kong National Security Law as Other Tech Companies Pause Data Requests

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Apple is assessing a new Hong Kong security law that makes “subversion” of the government illegal and raises concerns about the criminalization of protests, reports Bloomberg.

China last week implemented legislation allowing local authorities to supervise and regulate internet access in Hong Kong. The new measures criminalize acts that were previously considered protected speech under Hong Kong law, such as the ongoing protests.

In a statement, Apple said that it already requires content requests from local law enforcement authorities to be submitted through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the U.S. and Hong Kong. Apple also says that it has not received requests for Hong Kong user data since the law went into effect last week, though it is under assessment.

“Apple has always required that all content requests from local law enforcement authorities be submitted through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in place between the United States and Hong Kong,” the company said. Under that process, “the U.S. Department of Justice reviews Hong Kong authorities’ requests for legal conformance.”

Earlier today, tech companies that include WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter said they would pause the processing of requests for user data from Hong Kong law enforcement agencies due to the implementation of the new security law.

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