Hong Kong is planning a ban on the Telegram messaging service, which is widely used by pro-democracy activists.
The blocking of the platform in the Chinese-ruled territory will be the freshest blow to the pro-democracy movement, which has been increasingly stifled by Beijing in recent years.
Local media reported that the ban on Telegram was being considered as a means to crack down on rampant doxing, under which pro-democracy campaigners are exposing online sensitive personal data of government officials and citizens.
Hong Kong's privacy commissioner for personal data might decide in favor of blocking or restricting access to Telegram in the first such move, the Sing Tao Daily reported, according to Bloomberg.
The execution of such a ban would mean that the former British colony has taken a step closer to China-style smothering of personal and civil liberties.
China rolled out the controversial national security law in Hong Kong last year, aiming to seal the city's 'second return' to the mainland after Britain handed over the self-ruled city to China in 1997. The draconian security law was passed in the wake of months-long popular protests seeking more democratic rights.
National Security Law
Hong Kong has been mired in conflict after the start of a renewed pro-democracy campaign in 2019. Beijing tightened its grip on Hong Kong and curbed the democracy movement by enforcing a strict national security law last year. The law enables the Hong Kong administration to punish acts interpreted as subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
Last week, a strong Beijing supporter was appointed as Hong Kong's new chief executive, replacing Carrie Lam, who was at the helm since 2017. The new leader, John Lee, an ardent supporter of the national security law, was partially in charge of the crackdown on pro-democracy protestors.
Two weeks ago, a Hong Kong court raised the quantum of punishment for a university student to five years in jail for sending a Telegram message calling for the independence of Hong Kong from China.
Lui Sai-yu, an engineering student, is the fourth person jailed under the controversial national security law, according to the Taipei Times. More than 100 other people are facing prosecution under similar charges, the paper reported.