The rise of multifaceted communications tools (e.g., emails, instant messaging applications and social media platforms) has widened the governments’ aperture of surveillance. The Hong Kong Transparency Report project conducted a survey on the matter in Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, the UK and the US, and found that in Hong Kong:
1) The surveillance law only regulates interception and real time surveillance, while excluding access to user data and stored communications in cyberspace by law enforcement agencies.
2) There is a lack of transparency in electronic communications surveillance: neither guidance to LEAs, nor routine disclosure to the public.
Based on the findings, HKTR recommended the Hong Kong authorities to introduce legislation or amendments to the surveillance law.
1.Communications surveillance and transparency in the digital age
Situation in Hong Kong
Situations in other jurisdictions
2.User data and content removal requests
User data requests
Content removal requests
Appendix A: Government transparency reports
Appendix B: Questions raised by Legislative Council members on user data and content removal requests
Appendix C: ICT companies that release information about Hong Kong in their transparency reports