Daily Management Review

Amazon Skips Appearing Before Indian Parliamentary Panel On Data Privacy


Amazon Skips Appearing Before Indian Parliamentary Panel On Data Privacy
A summon by a parliamentary panel in Indi that is currently reviewing privacy bill of the country was turned down by representatives of Amazon.com Inc in India.
This was said by a Indian lawmaker said on Friday.
The United States based e-commerce giant however said that this was a result of a misunderstanding.
Amazon officials had refused to appear before the parliamentary panel in a scheduled meeting on October 28 and that could lead to "coercive action" against the company, said Meenakshi Lekhi, head of a parliamentary panel which is reviewing the Indian government's Personal Data Protection Bill.
Foreign tech companies operating in India could potentially be hurt by the bill, says some industry executives and it could force such companies to alter their policies and practices of storing of data. It regularly holds discussions with technology companies as a part of the panel's deliberations.
"Amazon is doing huge business in India ... If it doesn't appear before the committee, coercive action may be initiated against it," said Lekhi, without explaining what the action could be.
Amazon would continue to engage with the panel and there had been a misunderstanding about its position which it is trying to clarify, said the company in a statement in response to Lekhi's remarks.
"The inability of our experts to travel from overseas due to travel restrictions and depose before the JPC (joint parliamentary committee) during the ongoing pandemic may have been misconstrued and led to a misunderstanding," the Amazon statement said.
Representatives of social media company Facebook appeared by the parliamentary panel separately on Friday. October 28 has been fixed as the appearance date for Twitter while  the next day, the panel has asked digital payments firm Paytm and Alphabet Inc's Google to appear before it, said another lawmaker who is on the panel.
If an executive of a company does not appear before the parliamentary panel, it would be viewed as a breach of parliamentary privilege which can even lead to a jail term, the lawmaker added.
Several regulations for the technology sector are being drafted by the Indian government which, some analysts and experts claim, could be detrimental to the investment plans that are have been made by foreign technology giants.
A new policy for the e-commerce sector and one for regulating so-called "non-personal" data are also being considered by the Indian government.