Whatsapp, Google, Amazon and Facebook under the scanner for data protection violations as Supreme Court calls on RBI and NPCI to investigate

Supreme of India issues notice to RBI and NPCI on misuse of data by Amazon, Google, WhatsApp and FacebookBCCL
  • The Supreme Court of India has issued a notice to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to show that data of Indian citizens collected by their payment platforms is not being misused.
  • According to the petition filed by Communist Party of India (CPI) Member of Parliament (MP) Binoy Viswan, the big four tech giants — WhatsApp, Google, Amazon and Facebook — don’t store the data of Indian users on servers in India despite RBI’s circular.
  • According to Viswan, they continue to store data overseas and share the data with their parent companies.
The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) seeking directions to ensure that the data of Indian users collected by the United Payments Interface (UPI) platforms of Amazon, Google and Facebook-owned WhatsApp is not misused.

The notice comes in response to a plea filed by a member of the Communist Party of India (CPI) Binoy Viswan back in September. It alleges that companies like Google, Amazon, and others are not complying with data protection guidelines set forth by the RBI and the NPCI.

“We will issue notice. Here there is apprehension that the entire regime of payments will commence before the entire regulatory framework is put in place,” said the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde.

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The allegations leveled against Google, Amazon and WhatsApp
According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), all multinational companies conducting financial transactions within India are required to keep the data secured on servers within the country.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, arguing on Viswan’s behalf, argued that this has still not been implemented despite the order being issued over two years ago, in April 2018.

It also questions the RBI and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on how these companies are allowed to operate despite these violations.

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"Millions of Indians use UPI platforms for making payments and with the RBI and NPCI allowing the Big Four Tech Giants to participate in this UPI ecosystem without much scrutiny, sensitive financial data of Indian citizens is being misused,” said the plea.

Viswan’s petition is seeking restrictions on Google Play, Amazon Pay and WhatsApp Pay from sharing information with the parent company or with any third party so that it cannot be misused.

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