Hong Kong security law: Zoom & Microsoft decide to ‘pause’ police help

Komal FatimaWeb Editor

08th Jul, 2020. 11:37 am
Hong Kong security law: Zoom & Microsoft decide to 'pause' police help

Microsoft and Zoom have decided not to process data requests made by the Hong Kong authorities.

Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Telegram had earlier announced the same decision. Apple says it is “accessing” the rules.

Services of Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Telegram are blocked in China whereas the services of Microsoft, Zoom, and Apple are not blocked.

Video-sharing app TikTok has also announced its plans to exit Hong Kong within days.

Microsoft directly provides its Office 365 work app and LinkedIn social networks to people in both China and Hong Kong.

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However, office 365 is offered directly to Hong Kong residents. Local firm 21 Vianet runs the service on the other side of the border, allowing Microsoft to remain one step removed.

On the other hand, law enforcement data requests have to go through the US government, although the division says it does sometimes “make an exception in an emergency”.

Microsoft has received requests for information connected to 81 accounts from Hong Kong’s government between July and December 2019.

A spokesperson said, “As we would with any new legislation, we are reviewing the new law to understand its implications,”

“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.”

On the contrary, zoom’s spokesperson said about the latest announcement, “Zoom supports the free and open exchange of thoughts and ideas,”

“We are proud to facilitate meaningful conversations and professional collaboration around the world.

“We’re actively monitoring the developments in Hong Kong SAR [Special Administrative Region], including any potential guidance from the US government. We have paused processing any data requests from, and related to, Hong Kong SAR.”

If tech companies make their non-compliance policies permanent, their services could be banned in the semi-autonomous region.

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