A little over one month after Google parent Alphabet, Facebook and Twitter said they would temporarily cease processing police or other official requests for user data in Hong Kong in retaliation for the controversial National Security law, Google has apparently confirmed to the Washington Post that these changes are now permanent, and that it will permanently cease processing all such requests, effectively treating Hong Kong the same as mainland China, a market that Google left years ago, though the search giant is reportedly plotting its return.

Instead of processing these requests itself, Google notified Hong Kong police on Thursday that it would instead direct officials to pursue any requests for data through a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US, a difficult process, which would eventually lead to these “Requests” being processed by the American DoJ.

“As always, authorities outside the US may seek data needed for criminal investigations through diplomatic procedures,” Google said in a statement emailed to Reuters.



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