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Watchdogs urge Facebook to detail privacy measures for planned digital currency

Privacy regulators from various countries have called on Facebook Inc. to provide more details of how it will keep personal information secure under its Libra digital currency project.

In a joint statement, the watchdogs raised concerns about Libra's design and data sharing framework, since the platform would hold "vast reserves" of personal data coupled with financial information and cryptocurrency accounts.

The regulators expect Facebook and its Libra partner companies to explain how they will collect and share data across the network, set privacy controls, implement privacy by design in developing the cryptocurrency, and conduct data protection impact assessments. Privacy authorities may individually request more information from the Libra network.

The joint statement was signed by Albanian Information and Data Protection Commissioner Besnik Dervishi; Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk; Canadian Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien; U.K. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham; Marguerite Ouedraogo Bonane, president of Burkina Faso's Commission for Information Technology and Civil Liberties; European Data Protection Supervisor Giovanni Buttarelli; and Commissioner Rohit Chopra of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

France has been a vocal opponent of Facebook's cryptocurrency plans, saying Libra would not be subject to the stringent regulations that sovereign currencies are.

Facebook's digital currency ambitions also drew bipartisan backlash in a recent U.S. Senate hearing, with lawmakers scrutinizing the company's checkered record in securing user data after a series of high-profile incidents in recent years. Facebook said that Libra users' financial and account data will not be shared with the social network's platform.