Hong Kong Internet Assosciation warns of consequences of restricting online access in the city

There could be huge economic and social consequences that would create a barrier for working in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has been a centre of a political turmoil for quite some time now and the government has suggested stringent laws to contain the situation, one of which includes limiting the internet access to the city. However, the top city officials have warned that doing so will have disastrous effects.

Hong Kong protests.

Hong Kong protests.

As per a report by South China Morning Post, Hong Kong City Chief Carrie Lam has said that emergency powers could be invoked to keep the violent anti-government protests in check. This includes limiting the city's access to the internet, which unlike China, is open and free.

Hearing this, the Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association (HKISPA) said that blocking the internet would only be meaningful if something like the Great Firewall, present in China, is introduced in Hong Kong. But in creating this Firewall, there would be huge economic and social consequences that would create a barrier for international organisations to work in Hong Kong.

Apart from that, the HKISPA has also said that since 18 international cable systems run through Hong Kong, blocking one application will simply result in users using another app. This will not stop until the whole of Hong Kong is behind a firewall.

“Hong Kong is the largest core node of Asia’s optical fibre network and hosts the biggest Internet exchange in the region, and it is now home to 100+ data centres operated by local and international companies, and it transits 80%+ of traffic for mainland China.”  The HKISPA continued, “Such restrictions imposed by executive orders would completely ruin the uniqueness and value of Hong Kong as a telecommunications hub, a pillar of success as an international financial centre.”

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