Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), headed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi has summoned officials of Google and Paytm to probe into the Personal Data Protection Bill. Officials of both tech companies are scheduled to appear before the panel on Thursday. The officials will be required to provide oral evidence before the committee. While Paytm officials appeared before the committee at 11 am, Google officials are to arrive at 3 pm at the Parliament House.
Google and Paytm aren't the only firms to be called in for the probe, other tech giants have also appeared before the committee in the past few days. Facebook officials were summoned last week and Twitter representatives were present before the committee yesterday. Officials of the online retail giant Amazon, appeared before the committee at 3 pm yesterday and gave oral evidence for almost three-and-a half-hours.
Amazon, which was summoned last week, initially declined to be present before the committee. The peril of facing "coercive action" and a "breach of privilege" notice made the company change its stance, which later clarified that its position may have been misconstrued. The company's experts said that they were overseas and were unable to appear before the committee because of travel restrictions imposed due to COVID.
Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 (PDP Bill 2019) was introduced in the Parliament in December 2019. The bill is being analysed by JPC in consultation with experts and stakeholders. There have been concerns regarding the bill that it gives the government blanket powers to access citizens' data.