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China’s Great Firewall Looms Over Hong Kong As Surveillance Grows

Proposed security legislation prompts fears of more stringent restrictions

Riot police charge in an attempt to disperse demonstrators on Des Voeux Road during a protest in the Central district of Hong Kong on June 9.
Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg
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Hong Kong, already grappling with tightened policing to rein in widespread protests that followed last year's proposed extradition bill, is now bracing for the prospect of stricter digital controls -- ones that would curtail free speech, communications and the ability to organize and turn the city of 7 million into a surveillance state that more closely resembles China.

In recent years, law enforcement has deployed tens of thousands of closed-circuit television cameras in Hong Kong’s streets and shopping malls, used broad warrants to crack into the mobile phones of protesters, and deployed facial recognition software that can identify activists in massive crowds.