According to local newspaper Sing Tao Daily, Hong Kong authorities might restrict public access to Telegram, a widely-used messaging service, over issues with “doxxing,” the online exposure of sensitive and personal information.
While it remains unclear how government authorities intend to go about this, they would likely either block public access entirely or remove the app from local stores – a move that often requires cooperation from local service providers. Regardless, the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data said it’s entitled to block access to messages when necessary, especially those considered doxxing.
Since Telegram serves as a way for citizens to stay updated on the news regarding pro-democracy activists, its ban would pose further concerns about Beijing’s influence over the city’s cyber freedoms.
“The PCPD will take appropriate enforcement actions to combat unlawful doxxing behaviour in order to minimise the harms done to the victims,” said the privacy watchdog in a statement.
A representative for Telegram said in a messaged statement that the company supports free speech and the right of peaceful protests. “However, content that discloses personal information without consent (doxxing) is not allowed and routinely removed,” they added.