Amazon said that the inability of its experts to travel from overseas due to travel restrictions amid the pandemic may have been misconstrued and led to a misunderstanding.

Amazon logo on a buildingImage source: Lewis Clarke - (cc-by-sa/2.0)
Atom Data Privacy Saturday, October 24, 2020 - 14:14

Following reports that Amazon refused to appear in front of the joint committee of Parliament on the Data Protection Bill on October 28, the e-commerce major has said that there has been a misunderstanding over its position and that its inability to travel due to travel restrictions may have been misconstrued.

“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,” it reportedly said.

Amazon said that the company will work with the committee 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,” the company reportedly said in a statement.

PTI reported that panel chief Meenakshi Lekhi said on Friday, they will move breach of privilege motion against Amazon if a representative of the e-commerce giant does not appear before the panel on October 28.

A stringent notice has been sent to Amazon after it refused to appear before the Joint Committee of Parliament on Data Protection Bill, she said.

Amazon was summoned by the panel along with Twitter on October 28. Google and Paytm have been summoned on October 29.

Facebook's policy head Ankhi Das appeared before the panel on Friday on the issue of data safety and was questioned by its members for almost two hours, sources said.

Talking about the schedule of the meetings of the panel, Lekhi said Amazon refused to appear before the panel.

"Amazon has refused to appear before the panel on October 28 and if no one on behalf of the e-commerce company appears, it amounts to breach of privilege," she told PTI.

"The panel is unanimous in its opinion that further a coercive action can be suggested to the government against the e-commerce company," she said.

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 was introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 11, 2019. The bill seeks to provide for protection of personal data of individuals and establishes a Data Protection Authority for the same.

The Personal Data Protection Bill was later referred to a joint select committee of both Houses of Parliament. The proposed law seeks bar on storing and processing of personal data by entities without the explicit consent of an individual.

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