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Senior Fellow Thomas Kellogg Reviews Hong Kong’s New Surveillance Ordinance

In an article published in the April issue of the Hong Kong Journal, Senior Fellow Thomas Kellogg examines Hong Kong’s new Surveillance Ordinance.  The passage of this law marks the first time in Hong Kong’s history that activities related to the interception of communications and covert surveillance by Hong Kong authorities has been covered by statute.  Many forms of electronic surveillance will now require authorization from a three-member panel of judges.  Kellogg concludes that while the law is an important milestone for Hong Kong, it has several flaws: the law lacks clear limiting definitions for key terms, it applies only to Hong Kong government entities (rather than including foreign and mainland Chinese entities), and the panel of judges it creates to review surveillance decisions lacks sufficient independence from the executive branch.