NEW DELHI: A joint committee of Parliament on Friday issued summons to Google and Paytm representatives asking them to appear before it on October 29 in connection with data protection and security. News agency PTI quoted sources to confirm the development.

Facebook and Twitter have also been reportedly asked to depose before the parliamentary panel which is trying to seek “oral evidence” on the issues of data protection and privacy. Twitter too is said to have been asked to appear before the panel next week.

The joint committee led by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi has 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha. E-commerce giant Amazon has refused to appear before the Joint Committee of Parliament on the Data Protection Bill on October 28 and this amounts to breach of privilege, Lekhi said on Friday.

Lekhi said that “the panel is unanimous in its opinion that coercive action can be suggested to the government against the e-commerce company”.

“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 a breach of privilege,” she said.

The agenda of Friday`s meeting read, “Oral evidence by the representatives of Facebook India Online Services Pvt Ltd on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.”

However, the summon to Facebook and Twitter is strictly pertaining to the issue of citizen`s personal data protection. The summons to Twitter assumes significance as these come close on the Centre`s letter to the microblogging site`s chief Jack Dorsey.

Taking a strong exception to the “misrepresentation” of India`s map, the government wrote a stern letter to the Twitter CEO, saying that any attempt by the platform to disrespect the sovereignty and integrity of India, which is also reflected by the maps, was totally unacceptable.

Last month, amid severe criticism of Facebook and the Union government over the alleged collusion of Facebook India executive Ankhi Das and the BJP, Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote a hard-hitting letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, blaming the Facebook India management of alleged bias against people supporting the right-of-center ideology.


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