Swiss data protection regulator seeks details on Facebook's Libra

Pedro Gonçalves
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Swiss data protection regulator seeks details on Facebook's Libra

The Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) said it is still waiting to hear from Facebook regarding its supposed oversight of Libra, the social media giant's proposed cryptocurrency. 

The FDPIC said it is still waiting to hear back after it wrote a letter on July 17 asking for more details about the project, Reuters is reporting. The organization said the information is crucial if it is going to figure out how to manage the oversight of the currency. 

This is because the nonprofit Libra Association, which Facebook had set up to oversee the currency, is based in Geneva.

The FDPIC is currently waiting for the Libra Association to respond to its letter of 17 July 2019 and set out their official position"

"The FDPIC is currently waiting for the Libra Association to respond to [its] letter of 17 July 2019 and set out their official position," the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

When Libra was unveiled in mid June, it was announced that the Libra Association, set up to develop and manage the stablecoin, had been formed in Switzerland and Facebook's Libra lead, David Marcus, told a US Senate hearing earlier in July that the FDPIC is expected to be the project's privacy regulator.

The FDPIC said soon after the Senate hearing that the lack of contact from the social media giant about Libra had prompted it to send the letter.

Marcus said the FDPIC would handle privacy concerns, and that the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (FINMA) would regulate it financially. FINMA told CNBC that it had been in contact with people from the Libra project.

Marcus also said the Libra Association was going to be headquartered in Switzerland "not to evade any responsibilities of oversight," but because that's where other international financial groups are headquartered, like the Bank for International Settlements.

Facebook's cryptocurrency project has already been met with skepticism from policymakers around the world. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell both said they have "serious concerns" about Libra related to money laundering, financial stability and regulation. Many of the senators who questioned Marcus also brought up data privacy concerns tied to Libra.

The FDPIC is not alone in wanting to know more about Facebook's plans for Libra and its potential risks. Numerous regulators worldwide and the finance chiefs of the G7 nations, have called for further information to be released.

 

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