A few days ago, the Hong Kong government passed an amendment to the law that basically allows Mainland China to do and undo whatever it wants in Hong Kong, a law that in recent months has been the subject of a large number of protests by citizens, since it reduces their independence in every way.
Because most companies offer their services in China, they are morally obliged to accept each and every request of this government if they do not want to suffer consequences that could end with the expulsion from the country and the blockade of its services.
A few days ago, the Indian government gave China a try of its own medicine and removed almost 60 apps, including some of the most widely used worldwide, such as TikTok.
Now it is the turn of both WhatsApp and Telegram. Both applications, which are not available in China but in Hong Kong, have announced, as we can read in the Wall Street Journal, that will not respond to any request for information from the country’s government, after the approval of the new “national security law” that prohibits criticism of the Chinese government.
Obviously they have absolutely nothing to lose, beyond being blocked in Hong Kong, a blockade will not take long to arrive, but rather, in time. Both applications use end-to-end encryption, and are widely used for protesters to communicate.
As the services are encrypted, they cannot access the messages that are sent, but it is feared that the Chinese authorities may infiltrate these groups and request information from the account holders, especially in the case of Telegram, since this can only be used with a nickname, without using a phone number.
WhatsApp and Telegram will not collaborate
While WhatsApp has halted user data requests from Hong Kong law enforcement agencies following the announcement of this new law, the company claims that it is evaluating the real impact of the new National Security Law.
Telegram, for its part, has officially communicated that has no intention of processing requests for data related to Hong Kong users, due to ongoing political changes, further announced that it had never done so in the past, least of all now.
The great Chinese wall, also in Hong Kong
China has a gigantic firewall supervised by its own ministry that prevents citizens from access sources of information that do not praise government action. Most likely, this firewall also reaches Hong Kong and all messaging applications, social networks and others stop working and the country’s citizens are in the same situation as in China.