Hong Kong Transparency Report was quoted on Saturday’s Hong Kong Free Press for 82 percent increase in the number of requests for user data made by the Hong Kong government in the first half of 2015 compared to the second half of 2014.
Benjamin Zhou, director of the Hong Kong Transparency Report, a project run by the University of Hong Kong, told HKFP that the numbers showed the government is using social media more and more to assist law enforcement. Such a trend is alarming if the public is uninformed of why and how the data is being used, Zhou said.
“The increase may relate to the arrests of activists after the Occupy movement. For example, Tam Tak-chi of People Power was arrested on May 29 for a facebook post. But it is quite obvious that the public have no way to know about the truth at the moment. We don’t know whether the reasons provided by the government are justified, and if innocent people’s privacy [has been] invaded,” Zhou said.
Zhou said more should be done to improve transparency in the government’s use of social media data.
“An independent body should be set up to judge if the government requests are appropriate and necessary before they are sent to service provider,” Zhou said.
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