Representatives of Google, Twitter and Paytm have been summoned. Amazon has refused to appear.

Facebooks Ankhi Das appears before before Parliamentary joint committee on data security
Atom Data privacy Friday, October 23, 2020 - 16:16

E-commerce giant Amazon has refused to appear before the Joint Committee of Parliament on the Data Protection Bill on October 28 and this amounts to breach of privilege, panel chairperson and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said on Friday. Lekhi said that "the panel is unanimous in its opinion that coercive action can be suggested to the government against the e-commerce company".

"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," she told PTI.

Meanwhile, Facebook's policy head Ankhi Das appeared before the panel on the issue of data security on Friday. Facebook India representatives were asked some tough and searching questions by the members of the panel, sources said.

During the meeting, a member suggested that the social media giant should not draw inferences from the data of its users for commercial benefits of its advertisers.

The panel has summoned officials of Twitter on October 28, and Google and Paytm on October 29.

Lekhi said, "Whosoever is so 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 platform from the political prism. The committee has representatives from across the political spectrum and the deliberations on the bill are being held from the national interest perspective," she said.

Last month, Union Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had also written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and accused the social media platform's employees of supporting people from a political predisposition that lost successive elections, and of "abusing" the Prime Minister and senior cabinet ministers.

The parliamentary standing committee on Information and Technology chaired by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had also summoned Facebook officials on the alleged misuse of its hate speech rules.

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