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Monday, November 23, 2020

Data Protection Bill: Google says India should avoid data localisation requirements, riles panel members

Both Google and Patym were asked about the recent Google Play Store controversy, it is learnt. Google had last month removed Paytm from its Play Store, citing violations of the app store’s gambling policies, but restored it hours later.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi | Updated: October 30, 2020 7:33:20 am
Digital financial services platform Paytm too appeared before the Meenakshi Lekhi-headed panel Thursday.

Tech giant Google on Thursday told the joint parliamentary committee on Personal Data Protection Bill that India should avoid data localisation requirements, a submission which riled some panel members, it is learnt.

Digital financial services platform Paytm too appeared before the Meenakshi Lekhi-headed panel Thursday. It is learnt that Paytm representatives were asked about the quantum of Chinese investment in the company and told that the servers on which customer data is stored should be in India.

It is learnt that Paytm vice-presidents Narendra Singh Yadav and Dharmender Jhamb told the panel that the company was of the view that the data generated in India should be parked in the country. They were candid about the 35 per cent Chinese investment, it is learnt.

Explained| The US sues Google in biggest anti-trust case: What it means for India

Both Google and Patym were asked about the recent Google Play Store controversy, it is learnt. Google had last month removed Paytm from its Play Store, citing violations of the app store’s gambling policies, but restored it hours later.

It is learnt that some committee members asked Google representatives — Director Gitanjli Duggal, head government affairs and public policy Aman Jain and Rahul Jain — about its control over mobile phone makers through the android system, pointing out that it doesn’t leave any choice for the user.

Read| Paytm rivals Google Play Store, launches its own mini app store

But it was Google’s submission that India should avoid data localisation requirements, which it said are ill-suited to protecting privacy and security, that surprised and riled some panel members, it is learnt. The submission was part of a 25-page document it circulated to the panel, it is learnt. Google representatives were confronted by some members, who asked whether the company believes India doesn’t have the capacity to localise its data and cannot protect privacy and security of its citizens, it is learnt.

The Google representatives were asked whether it has taken this view specifically for India and some members reminded them that the company is adhering to the US laws and is fighting a legal battle with the European Union, it is learnt.

The panel will hear telecom operators Reliance Jio and Airtel and cab aggregators Ola and Uber from November 4 to 6.

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