One of the lawmakers in the United States has asked Facebook to suspend the development of its new cryptomoeda and have company executives testify before Congress over concerns about the implications of using digital currency in relation to data privacy and security.
Maxine Waters, who heads the Home Affairs Committee of the US Congress, said Facebook should stop developing its product, called Libra, until Congress and regulators can analyze it and also call on company executives. to testify before Congress.
"Facebook has the information of billions of people and has shown a reluctant disinterest in the protection and care with the use of this information," he said. "With the announcement of his plans to create a crypto-crash, Facebook continues its unbridled expansion and extending its reach in the lives of its users'.
The comments came after Deputy Patrick McHenry, the Republican director of his panel, also called for a hearing on Facebook's new initiative. A Facebook representative said the company is intent on responding to all the doubts of lawmakers.
The Facebook ad featured an immediate rejection by US lawmakers and several regulators around the world who are concerned that Facebook is already quite dominant and careless with the privacy of its users.
"Facebook is really very big and powerful, and used that power to exploit its users' information without protecting their privacy. We can not allow Facebook to develop a new crypto-currency like a Swiss bank account without surveillance," he said in a statement. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Democrat leader of the Senate Banking Committee.
US Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia who also serves on the Senate Banking Committee, expressed concern about the Libra as Facebook is using its dominance in social networks to achieve dominance in parallel markets such as mobile payments. These were at least three of the lawmakers who spoke prior to the Facebook cryptocurrency project.
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire called for more regulation of technology companies.
"This transaction tool will allow Facebook to collect millions and millions of data, which strengthens my conviction that there is a need to regulate the digital giant," he said in an interview for Europe 1 radio.
However, the president of the Central Bank of England, Mark Carney, said he is "open-minded" about the potential usefulness of this product, while warning that it may face strict regulation.
Facebook has met with regulators in the United States and elsewhere to talk about its cryptomade project, company executives said. They did not give details on which regulators they contacted.
A source at one of the US regulators summed up that Facebook has been in communication with several regulators, but added that it was not clear how the cryptomoeda would be structured and whether it will be directly subject to any regulatory regime existing in the United States.
Swiss government officials said they were contacted by prosecutors on the Libra project, but declined to comment on whether they obtained permission or regulatory status.
Markus Ferber, a German parliamentary executive at the European Parliament, said Facebook's new currency should put "regulators on high alert" and called on the European Commission to start a regulatory framework for virtual currencies.
Translated version of Pete Schroeder's article, published by Reuters.