Updates on 【阻擋網絡文字獄,捍衛言論自由】入稟覆核政府禁制網上言論 Challenge against govt’s injunction to block free speech online

Update posted by Internet Society Hong Kong On Dec 06, 2019

感謝各位參與眾籌,表達對捍衛網絡及言論自由的支持。網絡自由受到衝擊,我們作為資訊科技人不能噤聲,但如非有大家的幫助及慷慨解囊,對抗封網之路必定更難行。

眾籌發起至今,聯同線下的捐款(共港幣300,000元)及扣除平台手續費(約港幣159,000元),約有港幣2,169,000元。我們於11月11日入稟法庭,循民事訴訟覆核政府的臨時禁制令,禁制任何人於網上,包括連登討論區及 Telegram,發佈或轉發任何促進、鼓勵或煽動使用或威脅使用暴力的言論。

高等法院於11月15日開庭審理案件,法官當日下午採納香港互聯網協會代表一方的觀點,頒令要求政府釐清及收窄臨時禁制令的範圍,可惜最終裁定臨時禁制令繼續生效。在判詞中,法官表明無意要求互聯網平台審查或過濾內容,相信有效釐清對於互聯網上的平台、 中介及互聯網供應商的法律責任。法官亦下令更改禁制令的部份字眼,表示禁制令在執行上必須要確保發布及散播內容人士是有意圖煽動暴力。

在徵詢法律意見後,我們目前決定不會進行上訴,但並不代表捍衛網絡及言論自由的行動劃下句點。一日臨時禁制令繼續生效,寒蟬效應就繼續存在。事實上,我們當初發起眾籌的初心就是為了應對今次及未來政府打壓網絡自由的各種手段。政府用臨時禁制令的方式對網絡言論自由伸出魔爪,相信不會是最後一次。

強權打壓反對聲音的手段從來都層出不窮,今次是禁制令,下次可能是動用《緊急法》封網,又或實施類似大陸式的防火長城全面過濾互聯網和進行網上言論審查,甚至用打擊假新聞為藉口立法限制言論自由,我們一定要繼續保持警惕。

鑑於我們目前未有計劃採取進一步的法律行動,眾籌行動將於即日起暫停,所得款項將經由香港互聯網協會Stripe戶口轉往並存放在律師樓戶口之中。在扣除今次民事訴訟所需的法律費用後,剩餘款項將由律師樓保管。今次覆核案件涉及的法律費用港幣850,000元,扣除費用後,眾籌所得之餘額約為港幣1,319,000元。三位信託人將會監察款項的運用,我們亦將定期公佈財務報告,確保眾籌資金情況的透明度。

倘若政府有任何威脅網絡及言論自由的舉動,我們將以今次眾籌的資源對抗到底。我們會在六個月後評估狀況,當政府對香港互聯網自由的威脅消除,我們會按原定安排將餘款均分捐贈予「612人道支援基金」及「星火同盟」支持前線抗爭的手足。

今年六月的反送中到反警暴運動至今,香港人一直秉持「一方有難,八方支援」的精神,令各種對抗強權的抗爭得以持續至今。然而,香港人必須繼續團結一致,抗爭之路必須走下去。我們再次感謝大家支持,亦希望在未來日子繼續與香港人一起並肩捍衛網絡及言論自由。若你有興趣,可到https://www.isoc.hk/be-our-members 成為我們的會員; 如果你希望成為小組義工成員,亦可透過[email protected] 興我們聯絡。


Our earnest gratitude to all of you who have participated in this crowdfunding campaign and joined us in the fight against the government’s move to block free speech online. In total, we have raised around HKD2,169,000 throughout the campaign (after deducting the processing fees by the crowdfunding platform and Stripe).

On November 11th last month, we filed a civil action in the High Court to challenge the interim injunction which prohibits anyone from willfully posting and reposting “any material or information that promotes, encourages or incites the use or threat of violence” online, including on LIHKG and Telegram.

The case was heard on November 15th and judgement was issued subsequently that afternoon. According to the ruling, while the interim injunction can continue to be effective, the judge, taking into account the legal perspectives of ISOC HK, narrowed the scope of the original injunction and amended that only those with the intent and purpose to incite violence will be found guilty under the new injunction order. The judgement also made clear that “the Order does not require instantaneous censorship by platform operators of the content of all posts on that platform, nor does it impose any obligation positively to search for and filter out information or messages that may otherwise be caught by the Order.”

After seeking legal opinion from our counsels, we will withhold from further pursuing the case for the time being. This does not mean the fight is over. The amended injunction by court still creates a chilling effect in the society. In addition, the ominous steps taken by the government towards censoring free speech online will require our vigilance. The Great Firewall of China must not be implemented in Hong Kong. Any attempt to erode free speech online must be fought back with resolve.

We are now suspending the crowdfunding campaign as there are no immediate legal actions. All funds collected will now transfer from ISOC HK’s Stripe account to the bank account of the law firm. The legal costs associated with our civil action amount to HKD850,000, the remaining amount of around HKD1,319,000 from the donations will remain escrowed in the law firm for the time being as a reserved fund for the same purpose of fighting against threats to free speech online and an open and free Internet. We will evaluate the threats to our calls after six months before we contribute the remaining donations to the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund and Spark Alliance as we committed earlier to broader fights against the infringement of human rights. Three trustees we appointed will oversee the use of the funds and we will regularly report on the financial status for the purpose of transparency.

We once again express our heartfelt gratitude for your support and we call upon Hong Kong and people around the world to stand with us to defend freedom of speech online and an open and free Internet. If you believe that the Internet is what you care about, we welcome you to join us and become a member of the Internet Society Hong Kong. Join us as a member at https://www.isoc.hk/be-our-members or email us at [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering for our projects.

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Update posted by Internet Society Hong Kong On Nov 15, 2019

(2019年11月15日,香港)香港互聯網協會週一(11月11日)入稟覆核律政司司長向高等法院申請的臨時禁制令,禁制任何人於網上,包括連登討論區及 Telegram,發佈或轉發任何促進、鼓勵或煽動使用或威脅使用暴力的言論。

今日高等法院開庭審理案件,法官下午裁定臨時禁制令繼續生效,然而法官採納香港互聯網協會的觀點,要求政府釐清及收窄臨時禁制令的範圍。在宣讀判詞中,法官表明法庭無意要求互聯網平台審查或過濾內容,相信有效釐清對於互聯網上的平台、 中介及互聯網供應商的法律責任。法官亦下令更改禁制令的部份字眼,表示禁制令在執行上必須要確保發布及散播內容人士是有意圖煽動暴力。

香港互聯網協會及立法會資訊及科技界議員莫乃光認為法庭裁決將原本過於廣泛及含糊不清的臨時禁制令拉近至現有的刑事法例,執法單位必須證明『意圖』方能採取法律行動。然而,對於政府繼續用禁制令方式繞過現行法例,協會及莫乃光批評政府繼續製造寒蟬效應及令網民進行自我審查,影響網上表達自由。

雖然法庭裁決將原本範圍不清晰及過闊的臨時禁制令收窄,協會及莫乃光表示將持續關注政府會否申請新禁令或利用《緊急情況規例條例》實施『封網』,會採取一切手段阻止政府引入類似內地式的網絡防火長城。

香港互聯網協會及莫乃光感謝法律團隊的努力,會與團隊研究下一步行動,並感謝參與眾籌行動的市民。

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Update posted by Internet Society Hong Kong On Nov 14, 2019

明天早上進行首次公開聆訊。我們相信無論這次聆訊結果為何,將只是我們抵抗引入中國式防火長城的第一步,需要香港所有網民的支持!

聆訊時間:11月15日(星期五)早上10時半
聆訊地點:高等法院十二樓第二十八號法庭

High Court First Hearing is schedule tomorrow:

15th Nov (Fri) 10:30am
Court 28, 12/F of the High Court

Representation: Daly&Associates

(w/ Mr Nigel Kat SC, Mr Simon Young, and Mr Benson Tsoi)

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Update posted by Internet Society Hong Kong On Nov 13, 2019

Thanks for your support and we're thankful the campaign have reach 1/3 of the target just one day after we officially announced it.

Please help share it with more netizen to support our civil legal action challenging the injunction and related lawsuits.

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Good work Hongkongers!

Rick Chan

Update posted by Nov 13

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Update posted by Internet Society Hong Kong On Nov 11, 2019

Original: Internet Society Deeply Concerned about Interim Injunction Ordered by Hong Kong High Court

Support from International!

BTW Access Now and 17 other international organization had issued a letter to the HK Government regarding the injunction on 1st Nov.

// This order has serious implications for Internet and web infrastructure. It does not protect Hong Kong society as it claims, because it fails to protect the most reliable, cheapest means of communication — the Internet. Undermining this technology puts Hong Kong society at greater risk, rather than protecting it.

The order will have the unintended consequence of interfering with the normal operations of the local and global Internet, jeopardizing the smooth delivery of Internet services in Hong Kong and its neighbors. The prohibition on republishing alone means that, for example, web caches — which reduce network congestion and increase available network bandwidth by storing copies of frequently accessed content closer to users — are in serious danger from this order, because these technologies cannot tell the difference between material prohibited by the order and material that is not. For the same reasons, content delivery networks (CDNs) may also avoid Hong Kong market, greatly reducing the reliability of services in Hong Kong.

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