Has Amazon refused to appear before Indian parliamentary panel on data privacy?

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Representatives of Amazon.com in India have refused to appear before a panel reviewing the nation’s privacy invoice , an Indian lawmaker has suggested, an allegation the US e-commerce giant said has been a result of a misunderstanding.

Meenakshi Lekhi, the head of a parliamentary panel which is reviewing the Indian government’s Personal Data Protection Bill, had said the officials’ refusal to appear before it on the 28th of October could lead to “coercive action” against the tech giant.

Some industry executives say the bill could potentially hurt foreign tech businesses and force them to change how they store data.

“Amazon is doing enormous company in India… If it doesn’t appear until the committee, coercive action may be initiated against it,” said Lekhi, without explaining what the action could be.

Asked for comment on Lekhi’s remarks, Amazon said in a statement it would continue to engage with the panel and there had been a misunderstanding about its position which it will work towards clarifying.

“The inability of our experts to travel from abroad because of travel restrictions and depose before the JPC through the ongoing pandemic may have been misconstrued and contributed to a misunderstanding,” the Amazon statement said.

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Separately, Facebook representatives appeared before the committee on Friday. Twitter has been asked to appear on October the 28th, while digital payments firm Paytm and Google are due to appear on October the 29th, said another lawmaker who is on the panel but did not wish to be named.

The lawmaker added that if a company’s executive does not appear before it when asked, it could amount to breach of parliamentary privilege which can even attract a jail term.

India has been drafting several regulations for the technology sector which industry executives say could hurt investment plans of foreign technology giants.

The Indian government is also considering a new policy for the e-commerce sector and to regulate so-called “non-personal” data.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘Has Amazon refused to appear before Indian parliamentary panel on data privacy?‘ article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Nigam Prusty and Aditya Kalra.

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