Amazon refuses to meet Lok Sabha panel probing into Personal Data Protection Bill 2019

New Delhi: Refusing to show up before a joint parliament committee probing into the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, an e-commerce company Amazon has caused “breach of privilege of parliament”.

Quoting sources, a report by Delhi-based news organisation NDTV, said that if Amazon does not appear before the panel on October 28, “coercive action will be initiated” against the company.

They said that Amazon cited travel risks due to which they cannot appear and said their “subject matter experts are overseas”.

Following concerns expressed by the Indian National Congress, The committee which has been looking into the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 had also called all stakeholders, including Facebook and Twitter, to get an overview.

“Amazon has refused to appear before the panel on October 28 and if no one on behalf of the e-commerce company appears before the panel it amounts to breach of privilege,” BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who heads the panel, told news agency PTI.

A privilege notice will be sent by the panel if they do not turn up, the report mentioned.

Meanwhile, top Facebook India officials appeared before the parliamentary panel today and were questioned for nearly two hours, according to the parliament sources in the report.

Facebook India was represented by its public policy director Ankhi Das.

According to a notice issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, the presentation of Twitter officials before the panel will take place on October 28.

Google and PayTM have been asked to appear before the panel on October 29.

While introducing the draft Personal Data Protection Bill in parliament last year, Indian minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that it ’empowers the government’ to ask companies – Facebook, Google and others – for anonymous personal and non-personal data.

But the opposition Congress had concerns regarding the use of such data in some cases, especially where national security is involved.

A section of legal experts had also flagged the issue, saying the provision will give the government unaccounted access to personal data of users.

The matter was subsequently referred to the joint parliamentary committee headed by Ms Lekhi.


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