10 Jun 2013 Government refusal to disclose the names of companies contacted
One major issue with the data released by the Hong Kong Government is that the data omit the names of the online service providers the requests were made to (with the exception of Google, which has given permission for its name to be used). The Government has argued that it would need to seek permission from each and every organization before releasing the organization’s name, and that this would be impossible:
“Since the question involves the commercial information of a large number of ISPs/Internet platforms/web sites, it is rather impossible for the Government to obtain consent from all relevant organisations to disclose the required information. Hence, the names of individual ISPs/Internet platforms/web sites have not been made public.”
However, since each organization is clearly able, like Google, to give permission to disclose its name along with the data, the Government’s position is more likely an indication that it does not yet view transparency as important.
We have approached the HKISPA and tried to contact individual ISPs to request that they volunteer permission to disclose their company names when a request is made. We have yet to receive a response.