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Amazon Does A U-Turn, Says It Will Work With Parliamentary Panel on Data Protection Bill

Amazon Does A U-Turn, Says It Will Work With Parliamentary Panel on Data Protection Bill

Amazon says it will work with the Parliamentary Panel to set the record straight and they have utmost respect and regard for the important work being done by the panel

On Friday, Facebook India said it wholeheartedly support efforts made by the Parliamentary panel

The Bill seeks to ensure that personal data of Indian citizens are safeguarded and not stored overseas

After reports that Amazon had refused to appear before a joint parliamentary committee looking into the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, the ecommerce giant said it would work with the committee.  

It was reported that Amazon could be issued a ‘breach of privilege’ notice for conveying that it would not be able to appear before the committee on October 28. “The inability of our experts to travel from overseas due to travel restriction and depose before the joint parliamentary committee during the ongoing pandemic may have been misconstrued and led to a misunderstanding,” the company said in a statement.

“We will work with the JPC to set the record straight… We have the utmost respect and regard for the important work being done by the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) on the PDP bill and have already offered written submissions for consideration of this august committee. We will continue to engage in any way the JPC considers fit,” Amazon said.  

The committee, which is headed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, is looking into the PDP bill, following concerns expressed by the opposition Congress. All stakeholders, including Facebook and Twitter, had been summoned to provide an overview.

Meanwhile, on Friday, beleaguered policy head of Facebook India Ankhi Das was quizzed by the Joint Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 for nearly two hours. 

“We deeply appreciate the opportunity to discuss data regulation issues with the members of the Joint Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill. We believe that India’s data protection law has the potential to propel the country’s digital economy and global digital trade, and we wholeheartedly support this effort. That is why we deeply appreciate being a part of this discussion and will continue to work alongside governments and regulators to find the right solutions which not only protect users’ privacy but are also interoperable with other major global privacy regulations,” a Facebook India spokesperson said.

The Bill seeks to ensure that personal data of Indian citizens are safeguarded and not stored overseas. The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, was introduced in the Lok Sabha last year and talks about the formation of a data protection authority. 

Concerns were raised about the bill jeopardising citizens’ right to privacy in the face of “reasonable exceptions”, and hence, the bill was sent to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) for deliberation.

Speaking to PTI earlier, chairperson of the joint committee of Parliament, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said, “Whosoever is required, whether 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. It would be inappropriate and unfair to look at the calling of social media platforms from a political prism.”