E-commerce giant Amazon has said that it has offered written submissions to the joint parliamentary committee. On Friday, Chairperson of the panel and BJP MP had said that Amazon has refused to appear before the panel and that coercive action could be taken against the e-commerce giant. The committee is studying the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 introduced by Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Amazon said that the inability of the subject experts to travel to India amid coronavirus restrictions "may have been misconstrued" as the company's unwillingness to appear before the panel, as mentioned in a report in The Economic Times. The company said that their inability to appear has led to a misunderstanding and that they will work with the JPC to set the record straight. "We will continue to engage in any way the JPC considers fit," said the company, as mentioned in the daily.
The e-commerce giant might field someone from their India team to appear before the panel on October 28. It further added that it had voluntarily sought to appear before the panel in February to put across its view on the bill.
JPC chairperson and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said on Friday, "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 added that the panel has unanimously decided that coercive action could be suggested to the government against the e-commerce company.
Facebook was summoned on Friday. The social media giant's public policy head Ankhi Das appeared before the panel. Twitter is scheduled to appear before the panel on October 28, and Google and Paytm on October 29.
The bill that allows the government to ask companies for anonymous personal and non-personal data has been under study after Congress and several experts expressed concerns over the government's unaccounted access to data.