The group behind the Facebook-backed libra digital currency has said it will ensure it meets privacy standards after data protection authorities raised concerns about its design.
The Libra Association, a collection of companies — including Facebook — which is supporting the launch of the new currency, said it is committed to protecting the personal information of users.
It comes in response to a joint statement from data protection authorities around the world, including the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, which expressed “shared concerns about the privacy risks posed by the libra digital currency and infrastructure”.
Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications at the Libra Association, said: “We appreciate these thoughtful questions and share the commitment to protecting personal information. As much as libra represents an opportunity for the world to make inroads on financial inclusion, we acknowledge the need to design an infrastructure that complies with global privacy requirements.”
The joint statement from data authorities was signed by bodies representing the UK, US, Canada, Australia, the EU, Albania and Burkina Faso.
It said Facebook’s central involvement in the project given its recent issues with data privacy and the firm’s “vast reserves of personal information” raised significant questions about data handling and sharing.
Privacy by design
It directed a number of questions at the Libra Association, urging it to disclose more details about the mechanisms around the currency, including how personal information will be used, how it would incorporate privacy by design into the currency’s infrastructure, and how data will be shared among network members.
The digital currency has already faced direct scrutiny in the US congress.
Giving evidence to the senate banking, housing & urban affairs committee last month, Facebook’s libra chief, David Marcus, said he understood “loud and clear” that people do not want financial details connected to their social media data.
“To earn people’s trust, we will have to have the highest standards when it comes to privacy, and the way we’ve built Calibra is that no financial data or account data that is collected in Calibra to offer the service will actually be shared with Facebook,” Marcus told the committee.