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Hong Kong passes contentious surveillance law

[JURIST] Hong Kong's Legislative Council [official website, in English] passed a controversial surveillance law 32-0 Sunday, despite more than five days of deliberations and a vote boycott by 25 members of the pro-democracy opposition. The Interception of Communications and Surveillance Bill [text, PDF] allows surveillance operations, including phone tapping and other measures, to be approved by judges appointed by Hong Kong's Chief Executive, prompting concerns about political bias. Critics have also expressed fears that the law allows the government to intercept conversations between lawyers and their clients and journalists and their sources.

In July, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal declared [decision text, in English] an executive order on covert surveillance unconstitutional, but granted lawmakers a brief period to devise a new law [JURIST report] before repealing the existing measure. The repeal was to take effect Tuesday. AP has more.

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