The E-Commerce Council of India (TECI), whose members include Snapdeal, ShopClues and UrbanClap, Monday suggested that guidelines for protection and processing of user-data managed by online marketplaces should be left to the proposed data protection authority.
In its recommendations on the draft National E-commerce Policy, TECI said commercial enterprises should be allowed to utilise the non-personal data generated from users.
"TECI has proposed that detailed guidelines for data protection and processing should be left to the Data Protection Authority, expected to be constituted after proposed Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill 2018 is enacted," it said in a statement.
It pointed out that due consideration must be given to the idea that data is not a naturally occurring resource, and an individual does not have an absolute claim over the data he/she generates on a technology platform.
"...the right to data protection, the right to be forgotten, the right to prevent any processing of personal, non-anonymized data should be guaranteed, while leaving enough scope for commercial enterprises generating this data to also exploit the benefit of non-personal data," it said.
The newly formed TECI includes product and services marketplaces Snapdeal, ShopClues, UrbanClap, Flyrobe and Fynd along with social commerce platform Shop101. It also includes brands like Bewakoof, Breya and Rustorange.
TECI members, between themselves, account for over 7.5 Lakh online sellers and service providers.
On the issue of intermediary liability, TECI said emphasises that the role of the marketplaces is distinct from that of the sellers and the brands.
"While, e-commerce entities continue to act as an effective partner in the enforcement of law, it is of utmost importance that protection under intermediary liability under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act continue without any dilution for e-commerce entities with regard to the legal obligations pertaining to sellers /brands," it added.
The association pointed out that the warrantees and guarantees are the responsibility of the seller, and these should not be shifted to the marketplaces that neither own nor sell the goods.
TECI advocated that e-commerce entities should be required to transparently disclose and display the terms of sale and customer rights to refund or replacement. Also, the marketplaces should have a clearly stated consumer grievance redressal process with resolution timelines to be specified by the marketplace.
On FDI rules, TECI has asked for incorporation and effective implementation of FDI laws governing marketplaces in the national e-commerce policy.
"It has proposed that categorical measures be included in the e-commerce policy to ensure that marketplaces do not act as sellers on the their own platforms, either directly or indirectly," the body said.
TECI further said that an entity operating/owning an online marketplace should not permit any entity related to it, directly or indirectly, to buy or sell goods on its own marketplace.
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