Data protection Bill panel seeks FB, Microsoft, Assocham, Nasscom views

The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Personal Data Protection Bill has called Facebook, Microsoft, Assocham, and as part of the first batch of 10-12 entities to present their views on the proposed legislation.

The JPC had sought suggestions on the Bill from people and organisations on the proposed legislation in January.

The JPC “received over 200 responses and has initially selected 11-12 entities to present their ideas orally in the first phase. Some of them have been informed to be ready,” said Ram Raj Rai, director of the JPC at the Lok Sabha Secretariat.

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The submissions were supposed to happen in person, but they will now be held virtually, according to people in the know. “Some entities have received a communication from the JPC to keep submissions ready and send any slides or material in advance,” said a person familiar with the ongoing proceedings.

The dates have not yet been communicated to those who have been asked to be ready with submissions, but the first set of submissions is likely to take place in the next few days.

In its January communication, the JPC had said, in addition to submitting written comments, those wishing to appear before the committee should specifically indicate so. “However, the Committee’s decision in this regard shall be final,” the statement had said.

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A first draft of the Bill, circulated in 2018, went through a comprehensive cycle of stakeholder comments.

Industry and lawmakers had long been demanding a legislation on data protection since the Supreme Court ruled privacy a fundamental right. After the first draft of the Bill was submitted under a committee chaired by Justice B N Srikrishna in 2018, there were objections raised businesses, especially on the broad restrictions on cross-border data flow.

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