Experts are overseas: Amazon refuses to appear before Parliament committeeLast updated on Oct 23, 2020, 07:21 pm
E-commerce giant Amazon has refused to appear before a Parliament committee looking into the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, saying experts on the matter are abroad.
This amounts to breach of privilege, the committee's chairperson BJP's Meenakshi Lekhi said.
The committee, she added, is not averse to suggesting coercive action to the government.
Amazon was asked to appear on October 28.
Facebook, Twitter, Google, Paytm were also asked to be present
Amazon isn't the only tech giant to be summoned by the committee; Facebook, Twitter, and Google have also been asked to appear and address the concerns.
In fact, Paytm was also asked to appear before the committee.
The committee asked its members, including Trinamool's Derek O'Brien, BJP's SS Ahluwalia as well as PP Chaudhary, to be present for the proceedings.
What is the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019?
The Bill concerns itself with the mechanisms for protecting personal data; it also proposed setting up the Data Protection Authority of India.
When the Bill was tabled in the Parliament last year, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that it gives the government the power to ask tech giants for personal and non-personal data.
This provision was enough to alarm the critics.
After uproar, the Bill was sent to Joint Parliament Committee
Legal experts said the controversial provision will give the government access to personal data, which could be misused. Congress also raised concerns, saying the data could be exploited for electoral gains.
After an uproar, the Bill was sent to the Joint Parliament Committee for a review.
Earlier, Lekhi had said companies or entities would be asked to speak on concerns related to data privacy.
Today, representatives from Facebook were grilled by the panel
While Amazon spurned the notice, the Parliament committee grilled representatives from Facebook today.
Reportedly, Facebook India policy head Ankhi Das and Business Head Ajit Mohan were questioned over data privacy.
The questioning lasted over two hours with reports suggesting that a panel member told that the social media giant must not draw conclusions from users' data for the commercial use of advertisers.
Anyone can be summoned, Lekhi said
"Whosoever is required, an individual or an entity, will be asked to depose before the panel on the issue of protection of data and its privacy and their respective social media platforms will be thoroughly examined by the panel," Lekhi asserted.