Reliance Industries on Wednesday told a joint parliamentary committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill that it does not have any data sharing mechanism with any third party such as Google and Facebook even though they are among the company’s investors, NDTV reported.

Representing Jio Platforms on the subject of data privacy, Ravi Gandhi submitted a written reply to the panel headed by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Meenakshi Lekhi, saying that the company supports localisation of data, according to The Times of India.

During the hearing, the panel asked whether Reliance’s tie up with social media giant Facebook and WhatsApp, involved any sharing personal information of subscribers. It conveyed to the officials that they must avoid any conflict of interest while dealing with personal data of their customers.

But Jio said it does not share any data even with other companies that are under the Reliance Group. In April, Facebook had purchased nearly 10% stake in Jio Platforms.

When asked that in such a scenario, why would Facebook and WhatsApp tie up with Reliance if no data exchange was envisaged, Jio representatives told the panel they would “benefit from each other’s technological know-how”.

Reliance spoke strongly in favour of data localisation in India, arguing that any data stored abroad is bound by regulation of foreign countries, officials told NDTV. “The data principal [content owner] cannot have effective relief in case of a breach in foreign land,” representatives argued. “Personal data should be stored in India to ensure its security, sovereignty and privacy.

Also, data stored in India leads to development of digital infrastructure in the country, they said. Besides, data residency in India will be helpful to law enforcing agencies, Reliance argued, unidentified officials told NDTV. “Punishment provisions in the law should be according to the nature of crime committed and not the size of the company,” it said.

Representatives of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Paytm have already deposed before the panel. While those of Ola, Uber and Airtel have also been called to appear before the panel on Friday.

During its turn, tech giant Google had argued that India should avoid data localisation requirements. The representatives of e-commerce giant Amazon too had expressed reservations over localisation of data and cross-border restrictions on flow of data.

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