India’s data protection law can give big fillip to digital economy: Facebook

The company “wholeheartedly” supports India’s efforts to draft the bill, it said after one of its top India executives appeared before the Joint Committee of Parliament on Data Protection Bill 

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In its defence Facebook said it barred the hashtag by mistake and not at the behest of the government, without elaborating | Representative Photo

The data protection law that India is working on can give a big boost to the country’s digital economy and aid global digital trade, social media company Facebook has said.

The company “wholeheartedly” supports India’s efforts to draft the bill, it said after one of its top India executives appeared before the Joint Committee of Parliament on Data Protection Bill. 

Related News: Parliamentary panel grills Facebook India top executive on data protection

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The committee, chaired by BJP member of Parliament Meenakshi Lekhi, questioned Ankhi Das, Facebook India’s policy head, for about two hours on Friday regarding the company’s operations in India and its policy on data protection.

It asked Das about Facebook’s revenue, profit and tax payouts in India. It wanted to know how much of its earnings the company spent on data security.

The committee has summoned Amazon and Twitter, too, for a hearing. Amazon has been asked to send a representative on October 26. The e-commerce giant has, however, expressed its inability to appear before the c committee citing travel restrictions put in place in view of COVID-19. 

Sources said if the company fails to appear, it would be considered a breach of privilege and the committee could take “coercive action” against it.

They said the committee, with members from various political parties, asked Facebook’s Das some difficult and pointed questions. 

Related News: Facebook under scanner: Sued in US for “spying” on Instagram users

“We deeply appreciate the opportunity to discuss data regulation issues with the Hon’ble Members of Joint Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill,” a spokesperson for Facebook said. “We believe that India’s data protection law has the potential to propel the country’s digital economy and global digital trade, and we wholeheartedly support this effort,” the spokesperson said. 

“That is why we deeply appreciate to be a part of this discussion and will continue to work alongside governments and regulators to find the right solutions which not only protect users’ privacy but are also interoperable with other major global privacy regulations.” 

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