Australia raises privacy concerns over Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency

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Calibra, the digital wallet provider is a subsidiary of Facebook, and consequently, concerns have arisen that data collected by the subsidiary including transaction histories could be passed between Facebook and Calibra.

The regulators want to know that Libra will have "robust measures" to protect personal data, including transparency, adequate privacy protection tools and a minimal collection of info.

Social networking giant Facebook has appointed a former aide to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee to lobby for Libra, its cryptocurrency project announced in June, Politico reported.

The Australian Privacy Commissioner is cautioning Facebook to learn from its mistakes and explain exactly how it will protect people's financial information when it launches its own cryptocurrency.

The Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, signed a joint statement alongside her counterparts in the United States, Canada, Australia and the European Union, "to express our shared concerns about the privacy risks posed by the Libra digital currency and infrastructure".

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"The ambition and scope of the Libra project has the potential to change the online payment landscape, and to offer benefits to consumers".

The privacy commissioners also set out a list of questions that Facebook is expected to address, including how the Libra Network will provide end users with clear information on how their data will be used by project participants and how it will ensure that default privacy setting will "not use nudge techniques or "dark patterns" to encourage people to share personal data with third parties or weaken their privacy protections".

We imagine Denham is looking back over Facebook's data handling debacles that have cropped up over the past 18 months or so, notably the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

A joint statement was released by the ICO, covering ground on global privacy expectations of the Libra network.

"I hope this statement 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", she concluded. We've asked Facebook for comment.

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