NEWS6 August 2019

Data protection authorities raise concerns over Libra data protection

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UK – The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and several of its data protection counterparts from around the world have called for more openness about Facebook’s proposed Libra digital currency.

Elizabeth denham_crop

In a statement to Facebook and 28 other companies, the ICO and authorities from the EU, US, Canada and Australia, among others, asked for details of how customers’ personal data will be processed.

Facebook and Calibra (a newly formed Facebook subsidiary that the social network said will provide financial services for the Libra Network) have “failed to specifically address the information handling practices that will be in place to secure and protect personal information”, the authorities said in the statement.

The authorities asked for assurance that the Libra Network will collect only the minimum amount of personal data needed and ensure that processing is lawful.

Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner (pictured), said: “The ambition and scope of the Libra project has the potential to change the online payment landscape, and to offer benefits to consumers. But that ambition must work in tandem with people’s privacy expectations and rights.

“Facebook’s involvement is particularly significant, as there is the potential to combine Facebook’s vast reserves of personal information with financial information and cryptocurrency, amplifying privacy concerns about the network’s design and data sharing arrangements.

“We know that the Libra Network has already opened dialogue with many financial regulators on how it intends to comply with financial services product rules. However, given the rapid plans for Libra and Calibra, we are concerned that there is little detail available about the information handling practices that will be in place to secure and protect personal information.”