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WhatsApp has suspended its processing of requests for user data from Hong Kong law enforcement agencies, in response to China's imposition of a new national security law on the city, reports The Wall Street Journal.

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The company is "pausing" such reviews "pending further assessment of the impact of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with human rights experts," a WhatsApp spokeswoman said in response to a Wall Street Journal query on Monday.
The decision by WhatsApp comes after China fast-tracked legislation that allows local authorities to supervise and regulate the city's previously unrestricted internet. The controversial new law, which took effect on Tuesday, criminalizes acts that were previously considered protected speech under Hong Kong law.

As the report notes, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter have operated freely in Hong Kong for many years, allowing residents of the semi-autonomous metropolitan area to express political views online, outside the grip of China's "Great Firewall" that restricts internet use on the mainland. The fear is that the new law brings Hong Kong another step closer to the authoritarian digital censorship that ringfences mainland internet users.

Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram have been blocked in China for years, with the country's government favoring home grown alternative services that it can more easily regulate. Encrypted messaging service Telegram was also blocked inside China after it became popular with the country's human rights lawyers, while several domestic VPNs – which are commonly used to evade censorship and access services abroad – were shut down after authorities said they were unauthorized to run.

Western powers have condemned the imposition of the new security law in Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom considers it to be a "clear and serious" violation of the Joint Declaration that was signed between the two countries when the former colony was handed back to China in 1997 after more than 150 years of British rule.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: WhatsApp Stops Processing Requests for User Data From Hong Kong Authorities
 

TheFluffyDuck

macrumors 6502a
Jul 26, 2012
659
1,723
Watch Apple do nothing for the human rights of Hong Kong people. But a rainbow WWDC Lanyard? Eat your heart out.

Note: That's not an attack on LGBT people, but on Apple for being hypocrites in the issues they follow when it comes to their profit margin. I will gladly retract this if Apple takes a stand, but they won't.
 
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coldwaves

macrumors 6502
May 30, 2011
383
188
Doesn't WhatsApp have end to end encryption? Doesn't that mean that they cannot see the messages to the first place? These statements seem to be redundant if WhatsApp itself does not have users' messages.
 
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makitango

macrumors regular
Apr 15, 2012
194
278
Doesn't WhatsApp have end to end encryption? Doesn't that mean that they cannot see the message to the first place? These statements seem to be redundant if WhatsApp itself does not have users' messages.
Yes they do, but obviously they can decrypt cloud backups (if they are encrypted at all) which most people do out of convenience.
 
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kyleh22

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2012
530
669
Baltimore, MD
I believe this means Facebook is now a greater supporter of human rights and has more of a backbone when dealing with China than Apple. Who would have thought?
That's b/c Apple is profiting in China while the Facebook suite isn't allowed to operate there. It's much easier to have a hardliner approach when you only have upside potential.
 
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honglong1976

macrumors 65816
Jul 12, 2008
1,472
927
UK
Watch Apple do nothing for the human rights of Honk Kong people. But a rainbow WWDC Lanyard? Eat your heart out.

Note: That's not an attack on LGBT people, but on Apple for being hypocrites in the issues they follow when it comes to their profit margin. I will gladly retract this if Apple takes a stand, but they won't.
For economical reasons, they can't do anything. Unless they are made in another country, Apple will support China.
 
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apparatchik

macrumors 6502
Mar 6, 2008
373
1,094
China not only blocks those services for censorship and political control but for economic reasons as well: they wanted to home grow their own services by blocking foreign competition. The West should block Chinese apps and services just like India did last week, unless the Chinese allow fair competition in the search, messaging, social network market, their apps shouldnt be allow to operate in The West.
 
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coldwaves

macrumors 6502
May 30, 2011
383
188
Yes they do, but obviously they can decrypt cloud backups (if they are encrypted at all) which most people do out of convenience.

That contradicts what WhatsApp claims about end to end encryption on their website. WhatsApp says here that " WhatsApp end-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you're communicating with can read what's sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp."

As I understand, WhatsApp does not have cloud service for backup itself, but rather depend on others, e.g. Google drive or iCloud. If that is the case, access to backup is not controlled by WhatsApp. It does not seem like WhatsApp is in a position to claim they will not give data to law enforcement. The backup data are not in their control anyway.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

macrumors 68040
Sep 26, 2017
3,295
16,657
Tanagra (not really)
Watch Apple do nothing for the human rights of Honk Kong people. But a rainbow WWDC Lanyard? Eat your heart out.

Note: That's not an attack on LGBT people, but on Apple for being hypocrites in the issues they follow when it comes to their profit margin. I will gladly retract this if Apple takes a stand, but they won't.
It’s the sad nature of global corporations. They support causes only when it is safe to do so. Human rights are great to talk about in the west, not so much in the east. I suppose these corporations’ customers are perhaps as equally guilty, since they press their favorite companies to take a stand on national causes, yet seem to care very little about equally pressing or more desperate causes elsewhere.
 
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Chancha

macrumors 65816
Mar 19, 2014
1,000
881
Hong Kong always belonged to China. The Brits only leased it for 99 years.
Hong Kong belongs to its people, who happen to be ethnically Chinese, since the population is mostly made up by folks escaping from the Northern border, guess who - the Communist Chinese regime. The person you quoted was questioning the morality of the UK handing this place to the very same regime that those locals risked their lives escaping away from.

And if you have to be politically precise, the Brits "took" it from Qing Dynasty, which was taken over by the Nationalist (KMT), together with the treaties the Brits signed with Qing, the party "moved" to Taiwan, where in more than enough ways the island is an autonomously independent state. The fact that the UK decided to hand Hong Kong to the CCP, which was founded *later* than both Hong Kong as a city and also Nationalist China, is more than questionable if not disgraceful.
 
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JosephAW

macrumors 68040
May 14, 2012
3,814
4,542
China will probably start blocking apps that disable the clipboard with iOS 14. Apple will probably have to have a special version of iOS again not only for the China iCloud but also disable the clipboard notifications for users.
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I believe this means Facebook is now a greater supporter of human rights and has more of a backbone when dealing with China than Apple. Who would have thought?
Mind boggling to think the FB is on our side. Or at least perceived to be.
 
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doboy

macrumors 68040
Jul 6, 2007
3,020
1,665
That's b/c Apple is profiting in China while the Facebook suite isn't allowed to operate there. It's much easier to have a hardliner approach when you only have upside potential.
Fixed it for you ;)
 
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AZREOSpecialist

Suspended
Mar 15, 2009
2,354
1,278
Apple, Google, and all tech companies should immediately pull out of any market where the government imposes censorship. The relentless pursuit of profit at the expense of human rights has become a global embarrassment. You want to censor the products from our companies? Fine. Then we will impose tariffs and unleash all sorts of hell on Chinese tech products.

Unfortunately, to do the above takes real leadership that the US currently lacks in abundance.
 
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szw-mapple fan

macrumors 68020
Jul 28, 2012
2,149
1,996
China not only blocks those services for censorship and political control but for economic reasons as well: they wanted to home grow their own services by blocking foreign competition. The West should block Chinese apps and services just like India did last week, unless the Chinese allow fair competition in the search, messaging, social network market, their apps shouldnt be allow to operate in The West.

It technically is a level playing field. China only blocks services that do not comply with its security laws. I'm not saying the standards set by those laws are right, but if foreign companies are willing to do the same level of censorship in China, they are allowed to operate, like Zoom, Bing, Yandex, and VK. There is a reason Google and Facebook were trying to create a Chinese version of their services a couple of years back before the public backlash became too much. As for India's ban last week, it would have happened sooner if it was actually because of economic reasons and not the border clash.
 
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coldwaves

macrumors 6502
May 30, 2011
383
188
Apple, Google, and all tech companies should immediately pull out of any market where the government imposes censorship. The relentless pursuit of profit at the expense of human rights has become a global embarrassment. You want to censor the products from our companies? Fine. Then we will impose tariffs and unleash all sorts of hell on Chinese tech products.

Unfortunately, to do the above takes real leadership that the US currently lacks in abundance.

This is such an idiotic and native take. If all tech companies should pull out any market with censorship, they will have to pull themselves out of the earth.
 
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