In India, a Parliamentary panel has questioned Paytm over Chinese investments and storage of data servers locally. Paytm is one of the largest Indian e-commerce payment system and financial technology companies. However, it has significant investments from China's Ant Financials and Alibaba Group.
Top officials of Paytm appeared before India’s Joint Committee of Parliament on the Personal Data Protection Bill and submitted their suggestions on key aspects of the proposed legislation such as management and transfer abroad of sensitive personal data. Members of the panel from different political parties asked Paytm why its servers were stored outside of India and if it is an Indian company. The panel instructed Paytm that its servers must be stored locally in India and enquired about the quantum of Chinese firms' investments and any back-end linkages.
Paytm was also questioned about its e-commerce platform and other services present in the app. A few months back, Paytm Mall, Paytm's online e-commerce, had come under scrutiny due to a temporary hack and data privacy issue. Paytm said sensitive and personal data might be transferred outside India for the purpose of processing when explicit consent is given by the "data principal" for such transfer. Earlier, the Indian Government had also questioned big firms like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Reliance Jio, Airtel, Ola, and Uber about the data privacy issue.
The committee, chaired by MP Meenakshi Lekhi, is examining the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019. The Personal Data Protection Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 11, 2019. The bill aims to provide the protection of personal data of individuals and the establishment of a data protection authority for the same.
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