On August 5, 2019, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”) signed a Joint Statement with other global privacy commissioners outlining the global privacy expectations of any future Libra, Facebook Inc.’s (“Facebook”) digital currency, digital wallet providers. The signatories of the statement included privacy representatives from seven different jurisdictions. The signatories expressed concerns with Facebook’s involvement in the Libra project, citing previous episodes of inadequate privacy protection by the company (previous privacy protection lapses of Facebook were reported by the E-TIPS® Newsletter here and here).
The OPC stated Facebook, and its subsidiary Calibra, have “failed to specifically address the information handling practices that will be in place to secure and protect personal information.” As such, the statement presented a number of privacy questions they expect satisfactory responses to in addressing the protection of privacy on the Libra network.
The privacy questions related to privacy by design implementation, data sharing between Libra network members and privacy control settings. The signatories questioned how the Libra network would ensure that its data protection and privacy policies apply consistently and uniformly across all network operations in all jurisdictions. The statement requests a response from Libra to ensure global data protection and privacy enforcement authorities can be confident that Libra has robust measures in place to protect the personal information of network users prior to implementation. The Libra network, Facebook, and its members, have not issued a statement in response.
The Joint Statement was published one week before reports surfaced suggesting that Facebook has used third-party contractors to transcribe users’ audio recordings.
Summary By: Henry Mah
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