ICO joins international signatories in raising Libra data protection concerns

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has joined data protection authorities from around the world in calling for more openness about the proposed Libra digital currency and infrastructure. A statement issued to Facebook and 28 other companies behind the project asks them to provide details of how customers’ personal data will be processed in line with data protection laws. It also asks for assurances that only the minimum required data will be collected and that the service will be transparent, while at the same time requesting details of how data will be shared between Libra Network members.

The statement is signed by a cross-section of authorities representing millions of people in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Australasia. These include the UK’s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham and her counterparts in Australia, the USA, Canada, Burkina Faso and Albania, as well as the EU’s European Data Protection Supervisor.

Denham said: “The ambition and scope of the Libra project has the potential to change the online payment landscape and 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’s the potential to combine its vast reserves of personal information with financial information and cryptocurrency, amplifying privacy concerns about the network’s design and data sharing arrangements.”

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham

Denham went on to comment: “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’re concerned that there’s little detail available about the information handling practices that will be in place to secure and protect personal information.”

In conclusion, Denham observed: “I very much hope that our statement on this matter will prompt an open and constructive conversation to ensure that data protection is a key part of the design process and that data protection regulators are a key consultative group as the Libra proposals develop.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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