Pri­vacy watch­dogs warn Face­book over Li­bra cur­rency

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Global pri­vacy reg­u­la­tors joined forces on Tuesday to de­mand guar­an­tees from Face­book on how it will pro­tect users’ fi­nan­cial data when it launches its planned cryp­tocur­rency Li­bra.

The watch­dogs from Aus­tralia, the US, EU, the UK, Canada and other coun­tries is­sued an open let­ter calling on Face­book to re­spond to more than a dozen con­cerns over how it will han­dle sensitive per­sonal in­for­ma­tion of users of the dig­i­tal cur­rency.

The let­ter fol­lows a cho­rus of warn­ings about Face­book’s en­try into the shad­owy world of dig­i­tal bank­ing, in­clud­ing at a meet­ing last month of finance ministers and cen­tral bankers from the G7 group of most de­vel­oped economies.

The watch­dogs said that Face­book and its sub­sidiary Cal­i­bra “have failed to specif­i­cally ad­dress the in­for­ma­tion han­dling prac­tices that will be in place to se­cure and pro­tect per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.”

Face­book’s han­dling of user data, high­lighted by the Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica scan­dal, had “not met the ex­pec­ta­tions of reg­u­la­tors or their own users,” they said.

The so­cial me­dia gi­ant’s lat­est project faced sim­i­lar risks, they said, adding that the “com­bi­na­tion of vast re­serves of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion with fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion and cryp­tocur­rency am­pli­fies our pri­vacy con­cerns about the Li­bra Network’s de­sign and data shar­ing ar­range­ments.”

The reg­u­la­tors de­manded Face­book pro­vide guar­an­tees that user in­for­ma­tion, such as trans­ac­tion his­to­ries, will not be shared with­out ex­plicit con­sent and that all per­sonal data will be ad­e­quately se­cured by all par­ties in the Li­bra Network.

Face­book an­nounced the launch of Li­bra in June, with Cal­i­bra slated to run a dig­i­tal wallet and pro­vide fi­nan­cial ser­vices us­ing blockchain tech­nol­ogy.

The cur­rency is to be over­seen by a Geneva-based Li­bra As­so­ci­a­tion of com­pa­nies, and Swiss author­i­ties have also pledged tight over­sight of the op­er­a­tion.

Li­bra is widely re­garded as a chal­lenger to dom­i­nant global player bit­coin. Ex­pected to launch in the first half of 2020, Li­bra is de­signed to be backed by a bas­ket of cur­rency assets to avoid the wild swings of bit­coin and other cryp­tocur­ren­cies. [email protected] glob­al­times.com.cn

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