UK's data watchdog seeks more clarity from Facebook over Libra

FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures are seen on representations of virtual currency in front of the Libra logo in this illustration picture, June 21, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration -/File Photo

(Reuters) - Britain’s data protection watchdog said on Monday that it had joined with its counterparts from around the world in calling for more openness about Facebook’s proposed Libra digital currency.

Facebook’s plans to launch Libra next year have prompted warnings from politicians, regulators and central bankers that it must be closely regulated to avoid any disruption to the international financial system.

Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office said on Monday it had sent a statement to Facebook and 28 other companies behind the Libra project which asks them to provide details of how customers’ personal data will be processed in line with data protection laws in connection with the project.

The statement also asks for assurances that only the minimum required data will be collected, that the service will be transparent, and requests details of how data will be shared between Libra Network members, the Information Commissioner’s Office said.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The statement is signed by a cross section of authorities representing millions of people in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Australasia. These include Britain’s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham and her counterparts in other countries including Australia, the United States, Canada and the European Union’s European Data Protection Supervisor.

Switzerland’s data privacy watchdog has requested information from Facebook about the Libra cryptocurrency project to help to define its oversight role over the proposed digital currency.

Last month, the Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers said Libra must be regulated as tightly as possible to ensure it does not upset the world’s financial system.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru. Editing by Jane Merriman