What you need to know
- Sweeping new security laws have come into effect in Hong Kong.
- Concerns have led to some tech companies pausing the processing of requests from the government.
- Apple is also said to be "assessing" the situation.
Apple says that it is "assessing" new security laws in Hong Kong, which give the police and government sweeping powers.
Apple Inc. said it is "assessing" a new Hong Kong security law that has sparked concern about criminalizing protests. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant also said it has not received requests for Hong Kong user data since the law kicked in last week, and noted that it doesn't get requests directly from the government there.
In a statement, Apple said:
"Apple has always required that all content requests from local law enforcement authorities be submitted through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in place between the United States and Hong Kong,"
Facebook has recently said that it will stop processing requests from the Hong Kong government related to its platform, as well as WhatsApp.
The new Hong Kong laws give government sweeping powers to "strengthen supervision", regulating schools, social organizations, universities, as well as the media and the internet. Since being unveiled Monday, the new laws have been used to crack down on mild actions like holding a protest sign and even outlawing the use of certain slogans such as "liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our time". Reports note that books from pro-democracy figures have been withdrawn from bookstores and The Guardian states:
Beijing's imposition of the laws has been criticized as an alarming encroachment on the freedoms of the semi-autonomous city and an expansion of its hardening line against dissent.
TikTok has also said that in light of recent events it would cease operations in the country.