Amazon has not refused to appear before the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Personal Data Protection Bill; its experts are simply unable to travel from overseas due to travel restrictions, a written statement from an Amazon spokesperson said. This is after multiple media reports emerged earlier today that Amazon had refused to depose before the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Personal Data Protection Bill. Amazon is willing “to engage in any way the JPC considers fit”, the spokesperson said.
“We have the utmost respect and regard for the important work being done by the JPC on the PDP Bill and have already offered our written submissions for consideration of this august Committee. We will continue to engage in any way the JPC considers fit. The inability of our experts to travel from overseas due to travel restriction and depose before the JPC during the ongoing pandemic may have been mis construed [sic] and led to a misunderstanding and we will work with the JPC. to set the record straight.”
PTI had earlier reported that Amazon had refused to depose before the Joint Parliamentary Committee. “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,” Chairperson Meenakshi Lekhi had reportedly told PTI.
Amazon is not the only one whose deposition plans have been scuppered by the pandemic-related travel restrictions. Facebook was earlier supposed to depose on August 10 but its experts could not reach India because of travel restrictions. Despite that, Facebook India officials finally deposed before the Joint Parliamentary Committee today. Multiple media outlets reported that Facebook India head Ajit Mohan and its beleaguered Public Policy Director Ankhi Das represented the social media platform in a two-hour long meeting. Twitter is reportedly supposed to depose on October 28, and Google and Paytm on October 29.