Google to end responding directly to data requests from Hong Kong authorities

HONG KONG (REUTERS) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will stop responding directly to data requests from Hong Kong authorities, the Washington Post reported on Friday (Aug 14), citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter.

The step would mean Google will now treat Hong Kong effectively the same as mainland China in such dealings, the newspaper reported.

Google and Alphabet did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

The development comes after China’s imposition of its national security law in Hong Kong, which has drawn criticism from the administration of US President Donald Trump and further raised United States-China tensions after Washington’s decision to end the former British colony’s special status under US law.

Google notified Hong Kong police on Thursday that it would direct officials to pursue any requests for data through a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US, which involves routing through the US Justice Department, the report added.

In July, Facebook Inc, Google and Twitter Inc suspended processing government requests for user data in Hong Kong.

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