International Regulators Put Pressure On Facebook To Reveal More About Libra Project

The pressure on Facebook’s Libra project is unremitting.

Privacy and data protection regulators from five jurisdictions released a statement this morning asking for more information about the project.  The Australian Information Commission and data regulation bodies in the UK, Canada, US, and the EU are leading this effort.

“This is an important step in a global regulatory movement that is holding online companies to account for how they handle personal information,” stated Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk. “Given the many initiatives taking place in our finance and technology sector, privacy must be a key component of any significant digital initiative such as Libra.”

The regulators pointed out that Facebook and Calibra had not yet addressed specific information-handling practices in place to secure and protect personal information. They also listed several questions relating to the same. Among the wide-ranging set of queries are identification of data processors within the Libra network and measures that Facebook intends to put in place to analyze data protection impact assessments.  

In short, the regulators want the Libra Network to specify how personal data will be used and the process of providing informed consent. Besides that, they want to understand how information will be shared amongst the various entities involved in this project. They said they expected to receive a detailed response from the Libra Network on all issues they had raised with follow up questions expected.

The Pressure Intensifies For Facebook

The questions posed by regulators are the latest in a fusillade of concerns raised about the project since it was launched in June. Libra chief David Marcus faced a hostile Congress and Senate last month even as regulators around the world, including finance chiefs across Asia and Europe, bore down on the project to release more details. In a quarterly report, Facebook expressed concern that Libra may never launch due to various regulatory challenges.

But the social media behemoth is pulling out all stops to make sure it does. It recently hired Susan Zook, a seasoned consultant who works for Mason Street Consulting, to join its lobbyists convincing Congress about the idea for a Libra Network. This year alone, Facebook has spent over $7.5 million in lobbying efforts. It has over a dozen outside lobbying firms on retainer and some of them are working on the Libra Network in conjunction with the company’s in-house lobbying team.