Senior officials from social media giants Facebook and Twitter have been invited to appear before a joint parliamentary committee on data protection and privacy issues. The committee, which is examining the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, following concerns expressed by Congress, called on all stakeholders to get an overview.
Facebook officials are due to make a presentation on the bill to committee Friday at 11 a.m. Twitter officials’ presentation will take place on October 28, according to a notice released by Lok Sabha’s secretariat.
On Thursday it was the turn of the Integrated Security Forum, Mumbai, which met the committee in Parliament in the afternoon.
The note to the agenda of the committee headed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, reads: “Oral testimony from representatives of Facebook India Online Services Pvt. Ltd. on the Personal Data Protection Bill , 2019 “.
When presenting the bill to parliament last year, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said he allowed the government to ask companies – Facebook, Google and others – for personal data and not anonymous personal.
But the opposition Congress was concerned about the use of this data in some cases, especially when national security is at stake.
A section of legal experts had also flagged the issue, saying the provision would give the government undeclared access to users’ personal data. The matter was then referred to the Joint Parliamentary Committee chaired by Ms Lekhi.
“Whoever is required, an individual or an entity, will be invited to testify before the panel on the issue of data protection and their privacy and their respective social media platforms will be examined in depth by the panel”, the agency Press Trust of India quoted Meenakshi Lekhi.
The committee has representatives from all political walks of life and deliberations on the bill are taking place from a “national interest perspective,” she added.
“It would be inappropriate and unfair to take the social media platform’s appeal from the political prism,” said the BJP MP.