The confrontation in the current Hong Kong protest movement has generated a new and alarming hostility between the Hong Kong police and the protester mass. In the eyes of neutral observers the police are a force provided to control and monitor peaceful protest.

In the eyes of the protesters who do in fact step over the lines of peaceful demonstration into violence which is met by the police with stern and sometimes equally matching violence although comparative examples of recent police action in Chile makes the Hong Kong force look soft and civil. The protesters have taken to "doxxing" which is the publication online of the personal data details of police officers which are widely broadcast and posted online through social media platforms and websites so that the doxxing personal data details of individual police officers and their families is transmitted into Hong Kong through social media on the internet. The practice is beyond the control of the Personal Data Privacy Commissioner because there is no international protocol in place which controls incoming internet traffic. Other affected individuals in the doxxing and cyberbullying targets are government officials, university and school principals, teachers and hospital staff.

Last week, the High Court in Hong Kong granted an interim injunction to help protect the police from doxxing by banning the publication of the personal details of police officers but this injunction order governing all action within the Hong Kong jurisdiction does not of course go far enough to suppress completely either the Hong Kong internal traffic in personal data nor to prevent by firewall the entry into Hong Kong of personal data details through doxxing online.

Accordingly, the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data has announced that he is seeking a legislated amendment to the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance to order the banning of social platforms or websites running doxxing programmes to remove or stop uploading content and posts to them. The protests continue and so thus their violent action and the Privacy Commissioner's move is both wise and timely but given the slow pace of the legislative process we can only "wait and see".

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