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Facebook’s Libra crypto project faces new heat from global privacy regulators

August 6, 2019, 2:15AM EDT

Data protection and privacy authorities in the U.S., U.K., EU, Australia, and Canada have issued a joint statement sharing concerns about Facebook's cryptocurrency project, Libra.

The regulators said Tuesday that Facebook has "failed to specifically address" privacy concerns in the past, and the crypto project further amplifies the concerns as the Libra Network "may instantly become the custodian of millions of people's personal information," once it goes live.

"Given the current plans for a rapid implementation of Libra and Calibra, we are surprised and concerned that this further detail is not yet available," they said.

The authorities have urged the Libra Association's 28 members to provide more details, such as how personal information will be used and whether it will be shared between the members of the Libra Network and any third parties.

While the regulators are "supportive" of the economic and social benefits that Libra could offer, this "must not be at the expense of people's privacy," they concluded.

Facebook announced the Libra project in mid-June and has already faced regulatory scrutiny from around the world, including central banks and politicians who have been demanding oversight on the project. Facebook's blockchain lead, David Marcus, recently assured senators and lawmakers in the U.S. that Libra won't launch until all concerns are addressed. 

The social media giant has also been expanding its lobbying efforts around Libra. It has now reportedly added Susan Zook of Mason Street Consulting, a former aide to Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

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