Data Protection Bill JPC Grills PayTm & Google On Revenues, China

On Wednesday, the JPC sought a written explanation from Twitter on purportedly showing Ladakh within China.

Tech and Auto
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The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Data Protection summoned representatives of PayTm and Google on Thursday, 29 October, for their “oral evidence” on the Bill and issues related to privacy in India.

Both companies were asked how much money they make in India and the extent of Chinese investment in the companies, according to an NDTV report.

“Google was asked about the quantum of corporate tax they pay in India and the total revenue generated by Google products like Google Pay, YouTube. They have been asked to submit details in writing before the joint committee,” the report said quoting sources.

While PayTm appeared before the 30-member committee at 11 am, Google officials briefed the JPC at 3 pm.

According to the report, the hearing focused on the growing "conflict of interest" by the companies as they themselves function as the main tech platform, seller, provider of financial services and advertisers as well.

With data localisation being a focus of the government and a contentious issue among Indian and international companies, officials were also asked where they store the data of users and why.

A day earlier, on 28 October, the joint committee, headed by BJP MP Meenakhsi Lekhi, had also sought comments from officials of Twitter and Amazon. Last week, the JPC also questioned Facebook on privacy of citizens and its revenues from advertising in India, according to reports.

The panel has sought a written explanation from top officials of Twitter, on purportedly showing Ladakh as part of China, news agency PTI reported.

The Joint Committee on data protection questioned the social media firm on the issue and was unanimous in its opinion that Twitter's explanation regarding the same was inadequate, panel chief Meenakshi Lekhi told PTI.

Recently, Leh, the headquarters and largest town of the union territory of Ladakh, was shown on Twitter as part of China.

“Showing Ladakh as part of China is against the sovereignty of India and amounts to a criminal offence with imprisonment of seven years,” Lekhi, a BJP MP, was quoted as saying.

Since January 2020, officials from the Union Electronics & IT Ministry, RBI, NASSCOM, NUJS have also appeared before the JPC to share their comments in the bill.

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