Effective July 7, Hong Kong residents no longer be able to enjoy online freedoms they hold dear
By: Sophia Yang, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
From July 7, Hong Kong residents will no longer be able to enjoy the online freedoms they hold dear. The new rules stipulate that the police can order publishers, platforms, or network service providers to remove or to block access to messages they unilaterally decide pose a threat to national security. In cases where these are not immediately deleted, the police can get a warrant to seize the relevant electronic devices and forcibly decrypt the offending messages.
The draconian penalties for individuals and organizations who violate the rules are in place too. For instance, if someone who published a message believed to endanger national security fails to comply with the police order to remove it without a reasonable excuse, that person could face a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,900) and imprisonment for one year. If a service provider refuses to cooperate, it could be slapped with a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for six months.
Article 43 also substantially expands the authorities' surveillance powers to detect "harmful" messages. Applications for covert surveillance and the interception of communications can only be authorized by the chief executive, without court approval or a warrant, and "less intrusive covert surveillance" operations can be carried out by officers handpicked by the chief executive.