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Tech policy groups, civil societies seek wider consultation from JPC

Tech policy groups, civil societies seek wider consultation from JPC
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Written by Aashish Aryan
| New Delhi |

November 22, 2020 12:29:54 am


The JPC on data protection bill is likely to move to clause by clause consultation and discussion from the next meeting onward and may not call any tech policy groups or civil societies for consultations, sources said. (Source: Getty Images)

In an attempt to seek wider consultations on data protection policy and related issues, tech policy groups and civil societies are planning to write to Meenakshi Lekhi, the chairperson of the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) on the personal data protection bill, according to sources.

While some groups such as Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC) India have written a letter to Lekhi urging the JPC to call them and other tech policy groups for consultations, others are likely to send in their letter over the next week.

In its letter, SFLC India has said that while social media intermediaries, fintech companies, travel aggregators had been called by the JPC for oral consultations, civil societies have not been given the chance to represent themselves and share their ideas.

“Through this letter, we sincerely hope that the Joint Parliamentary Committee, under your chairpersonship, will invite civil society organisations that defend rights of citizens in the digital space for consultation on the draft Data Protection Bill,” SFLC said in its letter to Lekhi.

The JPC on data protection bill, however, is likely to move to clause by clause consultation and discussion from the next meeting onward and may not call any tech policy groups or civil societies for consultations, sources said.

“The committee wants to wrap up consultations as soon as possible and submit its recommendations so that the bill is given a final shape. It may not be possible to invite more stakeholders for face-to-face consultations,” a senior government official said.

Over the last two months, global internet conglomerate Google, e-commerce giant Amazon and payments systems aggregator PayTM’s representatives have deposed before the JPC on personal data protection bill.

Google’s representatives had in their meeting with the JPC said India should avoid data localisation requirements, which had irked the members of the committee, while Paytm had said data generated in India should be parked in the country.

Cab aggregators, such as Ola and Uber whose representatives had also appeared before the JPC earlier this month, have supported data localisation norms.

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