Hong Kong’s privacy watchdog says it received almost four times as many complaints in 2019 compared to the previous year – with almost half of them related to doxxing.
Privacy Commissioner Stephen Wong said the watchdog received 4370 doxxing complaints about the unauthorised release of people’s personal information – compared to just 57 for the whole of 2018.
The figure also represents almost half of the record-high 9,182 complaints the body received in 2019.
Wong said this shows how doxxing has been weaponised amid months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
“Very often we say we don’t give you our personal data on the basis that it is my own property”, Wong said. “It’s a shield. It’s some sort of a refuge sometimes, and now it has become a weapon – a weapon to attack other people with different views, perhaps.”
Around one third of the doxxing complaints were related to the disclosure of the personal information of police officers or their family members, another third targeted people who support the government or the police, while around a fifth had to do with anti-government protesters.
Wong said the commission has referred around 1,400 such cases to the police, and the force have arrested eight people, charging one.
He says most online platforms have agreed with the watchdog's request to remove doxxed information from the internet, adding that this shows the commission's work has been effective.
The commission received more complaints related to a single incident on December 26 – when a reporter’s Hong Kong Identity Card was held up in front of his own live-streaming camera – than it did annually for each of the previous four years.
Last updated: 2020-01-21 HKT 16:02