EU Regulator Asks Questions About Facebook’s Libra Currency – Report

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Facebook’s Libra questions from EU regulator concern use of customer data and anti-competitive issues

The European competition watchdog, the European Commission, is said to be asking questions about Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency.

The European Commission is reportedly concerned about Libra’s use of consumer data, and whether that poses possible anti-competitive constraints, Reuters quoted people familiar with the matter as saying.

Earlier this month the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) joined other data protection watchdogs around the world in questioning Facebook over its Libra digital currency.

Commission questions

The European Commission reportedly sent out a questionnaire earlier this month to various parties involved in Libra. Respondents have two to three weeks to provide feedback, the people said.

It is reported that by sending out a questionnaire, the EU could be preparing the ground for a formal investigation, with the main focus on the use of consumer data.

“The Commission is in particular concerned about the possible competition restrictions that may result from the Association, especially with regard to information that will be exchanged and the use of consumer data,” the questionnaire said.

Last month the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, said that Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project, “cannot go forward” until serious concerns are addressed.

Worldwide concerns

Facebook is already facing European regulatory concerns about the project, and major banks in the US and Europe have also voiced scepticism about the scheme.

Indeed, no banks were present amongst Libra’s dozens of initial backers when the project launched in June, although Facebook said it is in talks with banks and expects banks to have joined the Libra Association by the time the project launches next year.

The association’s founding members do however include Visa, MasterCard and PayPal.

Yet it is clear that concerns from regulators and central banks about Libra are not going away anytime soon.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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