A Swiss regulatory agency that Facebook executive David Marcus said in congressional testimony would be responsible for overseeing data and privacy protections for the company’s newly launched cryptocurrency, Libra, has not been contacted by Facebook, according to a report.
CNBC is reporting that the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner, who Marcus said would oversee data protections for its cryptocurrency in his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, has yet to hear from the company which is depending on it for oversight.
We have taken note of the statements made by David Marcus, Chief of Calibra, on our potential role as data protection supervisory authority in the Libra context. Until today we have not been contacted by the promoters of Libra… We expect Facebook or its promoters to provide us with concrete information when the time comes. Only then will we be able to examine the extent to which our legal advisory and supervisory competence is given. In any case, we are following the development of the project in the public debate.
Facebook’s attempted end-run around national monetary policy already has been criticized by lawmakers in the U.S. and around the world.
“With the announcement that it plans to create a cryptocurrency, Facebook is continuing its unchecked expansion and extending its reach into the lives of its users… Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action,” said Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who heads the House Financial Services Committee, in a statement on the day Facebook announced its cryptocurrency.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell also had harsh words for Facebook and its planned cryptocurrency. “Libra raises many serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability,” Powell said last week.
Even Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, normally a proponent of laissez-faire approaches to private enterprise, voiced concerns about Libra that seemed to echo Powell’s.
“Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity like cyber crime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs and human trafficking,” Mnuchin said in a press conference yesterday.