Global regulators are keeping a constant eye on Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, Libra. While the United States held a 6-hour long hearing about Libra in July, Australia has recently joined hands with a group of other global regulators to scrutinize Facebook’s plan of launching the new cryptocurrency.
Regulators questioning Libra about data privacy and protection
On August 06, “the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)” published a press release, titled, “OAIC joins with global privacy regulators to call for more information from the Libra Network”. According to the post, the OAIC along with other regulators is seeking more information from Facebook to understand the company’s data protection framework for Libra which is slated for a 2020 launch.
Following Libra’s launch, Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner, Angelene Falk asserts that privacy is of utmost importance in Libra. While expressing her concern, she explains;
This is an important step in a global regulatory movement that is holding online companies to account for how they handle personal information, Angelene Falk said. Given the many initiatives taking place in our finance and technology sector, privacy must be a key component of any significant digital initiative such as Libra.
According to the regulators, Facebook’s best practice of protecting user’s sensitive information still lacks clarity. Acknowledging the “broad public statements”, the collective data watchdogs are seeking details on a set of questions regarding Libra, Calibra wallet and other arms of the Libra Network. On a similar note, the joint statement published by British ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) states that;
Who are the other Global regulators?
The concern over Libra is a collective effort, begun by the US, EU, UK, Australia, Burkina Faso, Albania, and Canada. These global regulators submitted a joint statement on Monday addressing the Libra Association’s 28 companies and urging them to share details on how the project was going to use personal information and whether it was going to be shared between members of the Libra Network and any third parties.
“Additionally, given the current plans for rapid implementation of Libra and Calibra, we are surprised and concerned that this further detail is not yet available”
The ICO also believes that Facebook has failed to address privacy-related information. It states;
To date, 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.
Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency has been surrounded in controversies due to the company’s earlier involvement in the “Cambridge data Analytica scandal case”. Following the company’s earlier incidents over data privacy, regulators seek to ensure that Facebook’s latest project is free from similar risks.