Amazon Refuses To Meet Lok Sabha Panel, Warned Of "Coercive Action"

If Amazon does not appear before the panel on October 28, "coercive action will be initiated" against Amazon, sources said.

Amazon said their "subject matter experts are overseas".

Highlights

  • Amazon's move amounts to breach of privilege of parliament, said sources
  • The committee had called stakeholders over Personal Data Protection Bill
  • The Bill empowers Centre to ask for anonymous personal, non-personal data
New Delhi:

Amazon has refused to appear before a joint parliament committee looking into the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, and this amounts to "breach of privilege of parliament", parliament sources told NDTV.

If Amazon does not appear before the panel on October 28, "coercive action will be initiated" against Amazon, sources said. The US e-commerce giant said their "subject matter experts are overseas" and cited travel risks due to which they cannot appear.

The committee, which is looking into the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, following concerns expressed by the Congress, had called all stakeholders, including Facebook and Twitter, to get an overview.

"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," BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who heads the panel, told news agency PTI. The panel has decided to send a privilege notice if they do not turn up. 

Meanwhile, top Facebook India officials appeared before the parliamentary panel today and were questioned for nearly two hours, parliament sources said. Facebook India was represented by its public policy director Ankhi Das.

Newsbeep

The presentation of Twitter officials before the panel will take place on October 28, according to a notice issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat. Google and PayTM have been asked to appear before the panel on October 29.

While introducing the draft 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.

But the opposition Congress had concerns regarding the use of such data in some cases, especially where national security is involved.

A section of legal experts had also flagged the issue, saying the provision will give the government unaccounted access to personal data of users. The matter was subsequently referred to the joint parliamentary committee headed by Ms Lekhi.