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'It's hard to remove all items related to the protest song,' say IT experts after HK govt seeks ban

'It's hard to remove all items related to the protest song,' say IT experts after HK govt seeks ban

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IT experts have stressed that it may be hard for the Hong Kong government to remove all sites or items related to the 2019 protest song Glory to Hong Kong (願榮光歸香港), which has occupied all slots in Apple's Hong Kong iTunes Top 10 after the government applied to ban “unlawful acts” relating to the song, its melody, lyrics and all derivations.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Ho Wa Wong, conveyor of Open Data Working Group, Internet Society Hong Kong, said that since some streaming platforms do not have offices in Hong Kong, it may be hard for the government to request foreign companies to remove related items or sites. "It depends on where the website administrator is and whether law enforcement agencies can find them," he said.

“It will be even harder and will take longer time to remove websites that related to the protest song if the administrator is not in Hong Kong," he added.

Agreeing with his view was Francis Fong Po Kiu, honorary president of the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, who said that it was hard to remove all items related to the protest song. “For example, Apple can only block IP addresses by region or by AppStore user country to stop HongKongers downloading the songs or viewing related content,” Fong said.

"While some platforms have the power to delete items related to the song by region or IP addresses, it depends on how their legal teams handle the issue," he added.

Meanwhile, HongKongers are rushing to download the song on music streaming platforms as the variations of Glory to Hong Kong dominated all of the top 10 slots on Apple’s Hong Kong iTunes charts, a check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE saw.

itune top 10 cap

Don't miss: Google defends decision to refuse HK's request of altering anthem search results

This comes as The Department of Justice applied to the court on Monday to for injunction and interim injunction to prohibit four items of unlawful acts relating to the song. The government seeks to ban the broadcasting, performing, printing, publishing, selling, offering for sale, distributing, disseminating, displaying or reproducing in any way including on the internet and any media accessible online of the song. According to the Judiciary’s website, the injunction case has been scheduled to be heard in High Court on 12 June. 

"The application pursues the legitimate aim of safeguarding national security and is necessary, reasonable, legitimate, and consistent with the Bill of Rights. In fact, the injunction complements existing laws and serves to clarify to members of the public that acts mentioned above may constitute criminal offences; they should not take their chances and attempt to break the law," the government spokesman said.

Related articles:

Hong Kong women’s ice hockey team reassures there would be no further anthem blunders
HK plans to improve SEO for government sites following anthem blunders
Google defends decision to refuse HK's request of altering anthem search results


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