Global Data Regulators Jointly Raise Concerns Over Libra

Multiple global data and privacy watchdogs have issued a joint statement, raising concerns over Facebook’s upcoming digital currency Libra.

Published on Monday by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the statement was additionally signed by representatives of data and privacy regulators from Albania, Australia, Canada, Burkina Faso, European Union, and the United States.

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“…while Facebook and Calibra have made broad public statements about privacy, they have failed to specifically address the information handling practices that will be in place to secure and protect personal information,” the regulators stated.

Facebook officially announced the prospect of developing Libra in June and aims to launch the digital currency next year. The social media giant also formed a Switzerland-based non-profit, the Libra Association, to oversee the digital currency.

However, the company’s past mishaps with users’ private data have become a headache for regulators and pose a barrier for the company to receive a green light for Libra.

“Many of us in the regulatory community have had to address previous episodes where Facebook’s handling of people’s information has not met the expectations of regulators, or their own users,” the statement noted.

“These risks are not limited to financial privacy, since the involvement of Facebook Inc., and its expansive categories of data collection on hundreds of millions of users, raises additional concerns.”

No clear revelations on data handling

With a lack of details about the social media giant’s approach of handling data of potential Libra users, regulators asked Facebook how it can endure the robustness of data protection measures adopted by the company.

The data protection and privacy enforcement authorities also asked for the firm’s plan to incorporate “privacy by design” principles on Libra network and what data points will be shared with partner firms.

While addressing to the Senate, Facebook’s crypto head David Marcus said that authorities do not need to trust Facebook with concerns over Libra users’ data because of the decentralized design of the network. He, however, failed to provide details on the design of the network.

“…given the current plans for a rapid implementation of Libra and Calibra, we are surprised and concerned that this further detail is not yet available,” the joint statement added.

Earlier, a G7 task force report stated that despite many advantages, Facebook’s crypto initiative is a threat to global financial stability.

Meanwhile, Facebook recently hired the former aide of US Senator, Susan Zook, to lobby for Libra in the United States.

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