HK gets an audit

A (paywalled) FT report says some major consulting firms are telling staff to use burner phones when visiting Hong Kong…

Deloitte and KPMG have advised some US-based executives not to use their usual work phones in the territory, according to multiple people with knowledge of the policies. Several McKinsey consultants have also taken separate phones when travelling to the territory, the people said.

Some senior staff are reluctant to visit Hong Kong as a result of the inconvenience of leaving devices behind, according to an executive at one global consultancy. The policy applies even to people not involved with sensitive projects, the person said, adding: “People are not prepared to come here.”

…“With much talk [about] national security issues, the general feeling is that it is important to be cautious in Hong Kong as well,” said James Zimmerman, a partner at Perkins Cole in Beijing.

While the companies have not always given staff an explicit reason for using separate phones, some executives said their organisations were concerned about the risk of hacks and, in particular, the chance that data about their clients could be accessed.

…One UK-based consultant at a Big Four firm said consultancies had in general become increasingly risk averse, in part because of fear of legal liability for a leak of client data.

The fear seems to focus on ‘risk of infiltration by a state-backed hacker’. The implication is that Beijing’s institutions and officials are now more active and powerful in Hong Kong and (as with the Office for Safeguarding National Security) may not be subject to local laws – therefore, visiting the city must be considered to entail similar possible risks as visiting the Mainland.

Who did this?

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to HK gets an audit

  1. James says:

    Having cut my teeth at one of the (recently most-hated) big consultancies, I can say this isn’t especially ‘new’. Depending on the clients’ requirements and practice area, this was not uncommon all those years ago – even going in Singapore from Taiwan. It’s certainly always true if one is visiting the US and serves a specific type of mainland client, too. If you ever see a China-based non-Chinese consultant on a mid-tier Huawei phone in a large US city, chances are they’re on a company burner. Plus ca change

  2. justsayin says:

    Great illustration.

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    @James: Totally makes sense. The NSA, CIA, DIA, DHS, FBI, etc aren’t exactly examples of virtuous fair play.

  4. James says:

    @justsayin: The media is the media. Pumping up a non-story into something the less media literate will consume is literally their job. Anyway, ethno-nationalists will never miss an opportunity to appease their masters, that’s literally their function. It’s just always weird to see them in such a niche platform like this. Like, how sad can you get?

  5. Justsayin says:

    I was referring to the schoolbook style ‘D is for diu’
    Cursing in Cantonese is HK UNESCO-protectable heritage level stuff

Comments are closed.