A parliamentary panel has called top officials of Twitter, the social media giant, and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the Railways' catering arm, on Friday (August 26) on the issue of citizens' data privacy and security.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, supervised by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has been holding meetings, on the same issue, with various stakeholders, including social media firms, tech companies, ministries and other regulators.
Twitter Misled Regulators
The meeting by the Tharoor-led panel is being conducted against the backdrop of reports that a former head of security at Twitter has registered complaints with the US executives alleging that the social media giant misled regulators about its cybersecurity defences and its issues with fake accounts, reported NDTV.
According to foreign media reports, the former head of security at Twitter, Peiter Zatko, has also alleged that the social media company deliberately allowed the Indian government to position its agents on the organisation's payroll where they had "direct unsupervised access to the company's systems and user data".
Meanwhile, Twitter has stated that it was a false narrative, and the allegations and opportunistic timing appear devised to grasp the attention and impose harm on the company, its shareholders, and its customers.
IRCTC Floated Tender To Hire Consultant
The parliamentary panel is likely to question IRCTC about a tender floated by it to hire a consultant to monetise its passenger and freight customer data aiming to generate revenue up to ₹ 1,000 crores, reported The Hindu.
As of now, Railways has not officially commented on the tender. However, highly placed sources said it would be rejected because the government has withdrawn the Data Protection Bill from Parliament.
The central government, on August 3, withdrew the much-anticipated Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, 2019, to replace it with a new bill with a 'comprehensive framework' and 'contemporary digital privacy laws'.
According to the tender document, the data to be studied will include information captured by the transporter's various public-facing applications such as "name, age, gender, mobile number, address, e-mail ID, class of journey, payment mode, log in or password" and other similar details.
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