San Francisco– Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has said that he cannot guarantee the company employees have not accessed third party seller data.

His response came during an antitrust hearing by a US Congress panel on Wednesday amid criticism that the workers of the online retail giant look into data of independent sellers on its platform to curate its own competing products.

Democratic lawmaker Pramila Jayapal asked Bezos a straight question: “Let me ask you, Mr. Bezos, does Amazon ever access and use seller data when making business decisions?”

“I can tell you we have a policy against using seller-specific data to aid our private label business but I can’t guarantee you that that policy has never been violated,” Bezos replied.

In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon employees got access to sales data from independent sellers on its marketplace.

“We continue to look into that very carefully. I’m not yet satisfied that we’ve gotten to the bottom of it, and we’re going to keep looking at it. It’s not as easy to do as you would think because some of the sources in the article are anonymous,” Bezos said during the hearing.

Before the release of the Journal’s report, Amazon had told Congress that it does not access sales data from independent sellers to help develop its own products, The Verge reported. (IANS)