Hong Kong Authorities Are Considering a Complete Blocking of Telegram

Hong Kong authorities are considering whether to restrict public access to the messaging service Telegram, according to Sing Tao Daily.

The Data Privacy Commissioner is considering for the first time the possibility of applying rules to restrict access to the platform due to allegedly widespread doxing in the messenger.

The newspaper, citing unidentified individuals, said widespread doxxing — or online exposure of sensitive and personal data — targeted both government officials and citizens.

Let me remind you that we wrote that China officially legalized the “Social Credit System”, and also that “The Great Chinese Firewall” blocks 311,000 domains, and 41,000 of them – by mistake.

A group of Hong Kong engineers, who posted their findings on an online forum earlier this month, said that a feature in Telegram’s design could have allowed authorities in mainland China or Hong Kong to learn the real identities of users.Reuters writes.

Telegram found evidence that authorities in Hong Kong or mainland China may have uploaded numbers to identify protesters. But it is unclear whether the authorities have successfully used this tactic to locate protesters.

A fix that Telegram is currently working on will allow users to disable matching by phone number. This option strikes a balance between making it easy for users to find their contacts and the privacy needs of those using the app to protect themselves from public security agents.

Experts, however, believe that blocking of the messenger and similar decisions by local authorities will lead to complete state control over the Internet, as it is implemented in China.

In Hong Kong, they first began discussing restrictions on access to the global network in 2020, then the district passed a law on national security. This event took place against the backdrop of the 2019-2020 protests.according to Reuters.

In recent years, the Hong Kong authorities have managed to suppress pro-democracy movements, but to the last they avoided the restrictions of the Internet. It is not known exactly how the administration will block sites and applications, since this will require the authorities to cooperate with local operators. It is likely that officials will completely restrict access to the Internet or force them to remove services from stores.

Hong Kong already took action against doxxing in 2019, when protesters released details about police officers and officials. Last September, the administrative region tightened data privacy law to prevent leaks. This event caused concern of large technology companies.
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Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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