The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) have permitted Amazon, Google and Facebook/ WhatsApp to participate in the unified payments interface (UPI) ecosystem without scrutiny and in violation of UPI guidelines and RBI regulations, Member of Parliament (MP) Binoy Viswam said in a petition before the Supreme Court, claiming that this was putting sensitive financial data of Indians at huge risk.
Viswam, a Rajya Sabha MP belonging to Communist Party of India (CPI), contended that RBI and NPCI are compromising interests of Indian users by allowing “non-compliant foreign entities” to operate its payment services in India in violation of right to privacy of millions of Indians who use online payment platforms.
“Although these entities are based in United States of America and take Indian data abroad, in the absence of any strong scrutiny and responsibility, the data shared on their platform is at very high risk of being misused,” the petition filed through advocate Sriram Parakkat said.
Viswam sought formulation of regulations in order to ensure that data collected on UPI platform is not exploited or utilized by the participants in any manner other than for processing the payments. He also prayed that directions should be issued to Google India, Amazon Pay (India) and WhatsApp to ensure that data collected by them on UPI platform is not shared with their parent company or any third party.
“Recently, for such allegations, CEOs of these foreign entities were directed to testify before the Judicial Committee of US Congress . During the hearing, US Congress members raised concerns about mishandling of data by the big tech firms,” the plea said.
The Supreme Court is already seized of a case relating to non-compliance with data localization norms by Whatsapp. Another petition filed in February by legal think tank, Good Governance Chambers challenging expansion of Whatsapp into the digital payments systems in India through UPI is also pending before the top court.