Suspected leak of personal data of HK leader, top officials and lawmakers on Telegram app popular with protesters sparks call for police probe

22-Jul-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A suspected leak of the personal data of Hong Kong’s leader, top officials and lawmakers on an online messaging platform popular with extradition bill protesters has sparked calls for a police investigation.

Among the people affected were Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung and Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu, who reportedly had their dates of birth, personal mobile numbers and social media or email accounts posted on chat group Telegram.

Others affected included executive council members Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and Ronny Tong Ka-wah, former secretary of justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie and lawmakers such as Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

What is Telegram and why is it so popular during the Hong Kong protests?

Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam. (Reuters)

Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam. (Reuters)

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data said it received 315 complaints and inquiries related to the leak and had contacted operators of the relevant social media platforms to remove the information.

Lee said on Facebook on Friday night: “I am incredibly angry at the people who have breached the privacy of others. The consequences of their actions will be unpredictable.”

She told media that she had already lodged a report with police.

I am incredibly angry at the people who have breached the privacy of others

Starry Lee, lawmaker

When contacted, police referred the Post to a government spokesman, who said it would not comment on whether the case was true, adding that it would let the privacy watchdog handle the matter.

Telegram offers an encrypted messaging function that has been widely used by mostly young protesters against the now-suspended extradition bill.

Under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, personal data collected and disclosed for the unlawful purposes of bullying, incitement and intimidation is illegal and unfair, according to the watchdog.

Those who reveal personal data without a subject’s consent and which causes psychological harm to the subject may be fined up to HK$1 million and jailed for five years.



Category: Hong Kong

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