The Hong Kong Journalists Association has condemned a website for “doxxing” reporters, urging the police to probe the intrusion into journalists’ privacy.
A recently-launched Chinese-language website has been posting apparent personal information of reporters from the pro-democracy Apple Daily, including their photos, dates of birth, detailed information on their positions, social media accounts, residential address and other contact information.
“Those acts have not only caused nuisance, but also caused concern among the doxxed persons about their personal safety,” the HKJA said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
“The Association strongly condemns such acts and calls on netizens to stop uploading or resending others’ personal data. The Association stresses that acts of doxxing on [the] website may have violated the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.”
The HKJA urged the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data to follow up the matter under the power provided by the Ordinance. They urged the office to demand that the website remove the relevant information and refer the case to the police for investigation.
The website also contained personal information relating to protesters and prominent pro-democracy figures such as lawmakers.
The site was registered under a Russian “.ru” domain name on September 9 by a private person, though no name could be found. An email address used to receive tips has been registered at yandex.com, a popular Russian website.
Privacy Commissioner Stephen Wong said in a statement that his office was gravely concerned about the harm caused by doxxing and cyberbullying.
He said his office has already requested that the website remove, and stop uploading, all posts involving cyberbullying or illegal acts, and said it has also liaised with the privacy enforcement authority in the relevant jurisdiction for its assistance.
Under section 64(2) of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, a person commits an offence if they disclose, irrespective of intent, any personal data of a data subject obtained from a data user without the data user’s consent and the disclosure causes psychological harm to the data subject. Those found in violation face a maximum fine of HK$1 million and imprisonment for five years.
The office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data referred 865 cases to the police for investigation between June 14 to September 16 noon.
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