July 21, 2020 / 10:50 AM / 15 days ago

South Korea's Naver shifts data from Hong Kong to Singapore

SEOUL, July 21 (Reuters) - South Korea's internet giant Naver Corp has moved backup servers storing its users' personal data in Hong Kong to Singapore as China tightens its grip over Hong Kong with a new national security law.

"We are currently shifting our backup data servers in Hong Kong to Singapore to better manage and protect our user data," Naver said in a statement, adding that the company has deleted all data stored in Hong Kong in early July.

The South Korean company said its IT infrastructure subsidiary, Naver Business Platform, managed data stored in Hong Kong and it had not received any requests to hand over its data.

Naver did not mention the law as a reason for its decision to relocate its backup servers.

This month, U.S. tech giants including Facebook, Alphabet Inc's Google and Twitter Inc suspended processing government requests for user data in Hong Kong following China's imposition of the national security law on the semi-autonomous city.

China's parliament passed the legislation for Hong Kong in June, setting the stage for the most radical changes to the former British colony's way of life since it returned to Chinese rule 23 years ago.

The law punishes crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison, will see mainland security agencies in Hong Kong for the first time and allows extradition to the mainland for trial.

China's parliament adopted the law in response to sometimes violent protests last year triggered by fears that Beijing was stifling the city's freedoms, guaranteed by a "one country, two systems" formula agreed when it returned to Chinese rule.

Beijing denies that accusation and says the security law is needed to ensure stability and preserve prosperity. (Reporting by Heekyong Yang Editing by Robert Birsel)

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