Facebook and its WhatsApp messaging service announced on Monday that they will not respond to requests from the Hong Kong government for information about their users until further notice to “defend freedom of expression.”
As a company spokesman said, these requests will be frozen “until a more thorough assessment of the national security law” recently approved by China in Hong Kong, the CNN television station said. .
The company is therefore planning to conduct a study and speak to human rights experts about the situation in the Chinese Special Administrative Region before providing data on its users that could endanger them. “We believe that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, and we support people’s right to express themselves without fear of their safety and without fear of other effects,” he said.
The new Hong Kong National Security Law lists four categories of crime: secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to compromise national security. The maximum sentence for any crime is life imprisonment, although the proposed sentence for some minor crimes is three years in prison.