This week the above image was widely shared on different social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and LIHKG, claiming that the MTR has amended the end-user agreement of their mobile app (MTR mobile).
These posts imply a change was made so the MTR could share users’ location information with law enforcement.
The claim is misleading.
In fact, the clause that stipulates the conditions under which the MTR can share the user data with authorities has been in the end-user agreement document as far back as August 2014 (archived link).
The current agreement, which is dated May 2019, reads:
We will take all practicable steps to keep your personal data confidential. We may need, for any of the circumstances below, to transfer/assign your personal data to the following parties:
(a) any person to whom MTRCL is under an obligation to make disclosure under the requirements of any law binding on MTRCL or for the purposes of any guidelines or codes of practice issued by regulatory or other authorities with which MTRCL is expected to comply;
(b) any agent, contractor or third party service provider who provides administrative, telecommunications, computer and other services to MTRCL with respect to the operation of its business; and
(c) any actual or proposed assignee, transferee or successor of or to MTRCL’s rights in respect of your personal data as an asset in connection with a merger or sale involving all or part of MTRCL or other change in corporate control.
The language above is identical to the previous version, which was posted in December 2018 (archived link).
It is important to note that our findings do not imply that the MTR Corporation would or would not share user data with the authorities in relation to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
The image and its alternate versions have been circulating through different platforms.
Google reverse image search result shows 25 threads posting it on the popular web forum LIHKG.