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Google gave some users’ data to Hong Kong authorities in 2020: Report

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Hong Kong, Sep 12, 2021- Tech giant Google has reportedly provided some users’ data to the Hong Kong government last year, despite promising it would not process such data requests from authorities, the media reported.

According to the Hong Kong Free Press, alongside other tech and social media giants last year, the firm announced that it would stop responding to any request for user information coming from the city’s authorities, unless they were made via the US Justice Department.

The latest disclosure indicates a reversal in the company’s position last year, the report said.

Google “produced some data” in response to three out of 43 requests it received from the Hong Kong authorities for user information during the second half of last year, the firm said in response to HKFP’s enquiry sent in May.

One of the requests it complied with was an emergency disclosure request involving a credible threat to life, as per the report.

Facebook, meanwhile, denied an emergency request last year.

The remaining two Google complied with involved human trafficking — it said the two requests were unrelated to national security and were supported by search warrants signed by a magistrate as part of an investigation.

They were processed according to the company’s global policy on government requests for user information, the tech giant said.

According to the tech giant, none of the responses included users’ content data.

Google’s general policy on responding to government requests states that it may provide other metadata, such as subscriber information including name, associated email and phone numbers, IP addresses, billing information, timestamps, and email headers. (Agency)

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