Representatives of Facebook and Google deposed before the parliamentary standing committee on information technology headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor in Delhi today.
Parliamentary committee sources told CNN-News18 that Facebook India was represented by Shivnath Thukral, Director (Public Policy), and Namrata Singh, Associate General Counsel. For Facebook, Aman Jain, its India head of Government Affairs and Public Policy, and Gitanjali Duggar, Director of its legal team deposed before the panel.
According to sources, the committee members, without mincing words, told Facebook and Google that there has to be compliance with the rule of law and the rules mandated by the Indian government by all social media platforms.
“Stringent norms of data privacy and data security must be followed…The current flaws are unacceptable," the social media giants were told.
Members also expressed concern over the safety feature on Facebook and regarding the security of women. On this, Facebook maintained that their data is protected by end-to-end encryption and that any leak of data or information inadvertently happens through the device and not via WhatsApp or Facebook. Additionally, panel members also asked if there was a way to protect women on such platforms to which Facebook said that they can take action only when the matter is reported as they do not have a suo moto way of filing a complaint.
The committee is also said to have raised questions over Google’s alleged listening in on people’s conversations through the speakers in people’s phones. Details have been sought on the same, sources said.