According to the media, despite vowing not to accept data requests from authorities, Google reportedly handed certain users’ data to the Hong Kong government last year.
According to the Hong Kong Free Press, Google stated last year, along with other tech and social media firms, that it would no longer answer to any requests for user information from the city’s authorities unless they were made through the US Justice Department.
The latest revelation suggests a shift in the Google’s viewpoint from last year.
In answer to HKFP’s inquiry in May, Google stated it “provided some data” in response to 3 of 43 requests for user information it received from Hong Kong authorities in the second half of last year.
The report stated that one of the requests it responded with was an emergency disclosure request involving a credible threat to life.
Last year, Facebook turned down an emergency plea.
Google complied with the other two inquiries which was related to human trafficking and added that the two requests were unrelated to national security and were backed up by search warrants signed by a magistrate as part of an investigation.
Google said that the requests were handled in accordance with the company’s global policy on government requests for user information.
None of the responses, according to Google, provided information about users’ content.
Other metadata, such as subscriber information, including name, associated email and phone numbers, IP addresses, billing information, timestamps, and email headers, may be provided in response to government requests, according to Google’s general policy.