Twitter has tendered a verbal apology before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) constituted to review the data protection bill after Leh was shown as part of China during a live broadcast, according to news agency ANI. The panel had shown strong displeasure and asked Twitter to tender a written apology and submit an affidavit over the issue.

The controversy came to the fore last week when a journalist started a live Twitter broadcast from a war memorial in Leh and realised that the location said People’s Republic of China. It also prompted the secretary of the ministry of electronics and information technology to write to Twitter’s chief executive Jack Dorsey to express the government’s disapproval of the move.

The JPC had on Wednesday criticised representatives from Twitter for showing Leh as part of China and said that it amounts to an act of treason. It had raised legal issues regarding data protection as well. The committee also took into account instances of shadow-banning, taking down of accounts arbitrarily, lack of accountability and transparency when it comes to policies and data transfers and location of data centres.

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“Leh being shown as a part of China can be construed as an act of treason and is punishable with unto seven years of imprisonment. The committee was unanimous in flagging the issue and expressed its stern disapproval,” chair of the committee Meenakshi Lekhi told Hindustan Times.

However, Twitter had said it swiftly resolved the issue. “The recent geotagging issue was swiftly resolved by our teams. We are committed to openness, transparency around our work and will remain in regular touch with the government to share timely updates,” Twitter said in response to HT. It added that data privacy and protection are at the core of its products.

“We thank the Parliamentary Committee for giving us an opportunity to share our views on the personal data protection bill. Privacy and data protection is at the core of our products and services that are designed to earn the trust of people who use them,” Twitter said. “Our focus is on working with governments across the world, including in India, to develop a forward-looking approach to regulation which is practical, realistic, feasible to implement, and takes into account the long-term impact on the wider digital ecosystem that protects the Open Internet and universal access.”

(With agency inputs)

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