Will set record straight, Amazon says after refusing to appear before parliamentary committee
New Delhi/IBNS: Hours after it was reported that Amazon had refused to appear before a joint parliamentary committee looking into the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, the e-commerce giant released a statement on Friday evening claiming that its position "may have been misconstrued" and that it would work with the committee to "set the record straight".
"The inability of our experts to travel from overseas due to travel restriction and depose before the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) during the ongoing pandemic may have been misconstrued and led to a misunderstanding," the company said in a statement released Friday night.
"We will work with the JPC to set the record straight," the company said, adding, "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."
Earlier in the day, an NDTV report claimed that Amazon has declined to appear before a parliament committee examining the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, saying its "subject matter experts are overseas" and cannot come to India owing to travel risks, causing "breach of privilege of parliament".
If no one from Amazon appears before the committee on Oct 28, a coercive action will be initiated, said a source from parliament, the report informed.
The committee, looking into the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, had called stakeholders including Facebook and Twitter to get an overview, following concerns expressed by Congress, said the report.
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who heads the panel, has told the media that Amazon's action will amount to breach of privilege.
Media reports said top Facebook India officials appeared before the parliamentary panel today and questioned for nearly two hours. The social media giant was represented by its public policy director Ankhi Das.
The NDTV report said the concerned representatives of Twitter will appear before the panel on October 28, while Google and PayTM have been asked to be present on October 29.
While presenting the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in Parliament last year, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it empowers the government to ask companies - Facebook, Google and others -for anonymous personal and non-personal data. The Congress had expressed concern over the use of such data, especially where national security is concerned.
However, several legal experts had raised questions over the unaccounted access to personal data of users. Following the concerns, the matter was referred to the joint parliamentary committee headed by Lekhi.