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The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the Centre, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and WhatsApp in a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions to ensure that the data of Indian citizens collected on Unified Payments Interface platforms is not misused by these corporations.

The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde heard the PIL filed by the Communist Party of India MP Binoy Viswam who had urged the court to direct the Reserve Bank of India to frame necessary regulations for the same.

The counsel representing Viswam, Senior advocate Shyam Divan submitted to the court that the central bank in its April 2018 circular had asked the multinational firms to ensure data transacted on these forums is secured in a server within India. Although this order, which was to be complied with by October 2018, it was not done, he added.

Further, the petition submitted that RBI and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) have compromised the interest of Indian users by permitting Amazon, Google, Facebook, and WhatsApp to participate in the UPI ecosystem without scrutiny. They have allowed the foreign entities to work in violation of the right to privacy of millions of India by letting them operate on its payment services, added the petitioner.

Subsequently, the court stated that “We will issue notice” while adding that “Here there is apprehension that the entire regime of payments will commence before the entire regulatory framework is put in place.”

The petition also sought that the National Payments Corporation of India, which owns and operates the UPI platform to make sure that data collected by UPI apps operated by these companies not be shared with their parent company or any other third party under any circumstances.


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