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Microsoft, Zoom stop Hong Kong data requests

SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft and Zoom joined other internet firms that have stopped considering requests by Hong Kong’s government for information on users after China imposed a sweeping new security law.
Microsoft and Zoom said they are halting consideration of data requests by officials or police in Hong Kong after similar steps were taken by Facebook, Google and Twitter.
“As we would with any new legislation, we are reviewing the new law to understand its implications,” Microsoft said. “In the past, we’ve typically received only a relatively small number of requests from Hong Kong authorities, but we are pausing our responses to these requests as we conduct our review.”
Video-conferencing platform Zoom said it is monitoring developments in Hong Kong and looking for guidance from the US government.
“Zoom supports the free and open exchange of thoughts and ideas,” the company said. “We have paused processing any data requests from, and related to, Hong Kong SAR.”

READ MORE: TikTok to stop app operation in Hong Kong

The pause at Facebook and messaging service WhatsApp will remain in place “pending further assessment” of the new national security law, and include “formal human rights due diligence and consultations with human rights experts.”
“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,” the spokesman said.
Twitter and Google have refused to comply with information requests by Hong Kong authorities in the immediate future.
China last week imposed the security law on the city of around 7.5 million people, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
The law stipulates that trials can be held behind closed doors without juries, with offenders subject to a maximum of a life sentence. The legislation criminalised dissenting opinions such as calls for independence or autonomy.
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