Tuesday January 28, 2020
Home Lead Story US Lawmakers ...

US Lawmakers Ask Mark Zuckerberg to fix Facebook Before Launching Libra

"China is moving quickly to launch similar ideas in the coming months. Libra will be backed mostly by dollars and I believe it will extend America's financial leadership as well as our democratic values and oversight around the world," he said

0
//
Facebook
Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg. VOA

A battery of US lawmakers bluntly told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a hearing here to address his existing failures first before launching the digital currency Libra.

In a six-hour grilling at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, both Democrat and Republican lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction with Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans.

“As I have examined Facebook’s various problems, I have come to the conclusion that it would be beneficial for all if Facebook concentrates on addressing its many existing deficiencies and failures before proceeding any further on the Libra project,” said California Representative Maxine Waters.

The hearing was focused on Libra, a cryptocurrency Facebook plans to launch in the first half of next year, reports CNET.

“Facebook’s internal motto was for a long time ‘move fast and break things.’ Mr. Zuckerberg, we do not want to break the international monetary system,” said New York Democrat Nydia VelAizquez.

Despite some top-notch firms pulling out, Facebook and 20 partner organisations have formally launched the digital currency Libra project.

Companies like Paypal, Visa, Mastercard and EBay have pulled out of the Libra cryptocurrency project to apparently avoid the US regulators who are scrutinizing Facebook and its subsidiaries.

Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE – In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook’s developer conference in San Jose, Calif. VOA

On his part, Zuckerberg said he is trying to use the position that he has to do things that are going to make the world better.

Facebook won’t be involved in Libra’s launch unless it gets US approval, he added.

“I believe this is something that needs to get built, but I understand we’re not the ideal messenger right now. We’ve faced a lot of issues over the past few years, and I’m sure people wish it was anyone but Facebook putting this idea forward,” the Facebook CEO said in his testimony.

Colorado Representative and Democrat Ed Perlmutter said that we have to regulate Libra.

Also Read: Apple CEO Tim Cook Talks Climate Change at Sustainability Non-profit Event

In prepared remarks released ahead of the hearing, Zuckerberg said a digital payments system is going to be important in the future.

“If America doesn’t lead on this, others will. Foreign companies or countries may act without the same regulatory oversight or commitment to transparency that we have.

“China is moving quickly to launch similar ideas in the coming months. Libra will be backed mostly by dollars and I believe it will extend America’s financial leadership as well as our democratic values and oversight around the world,” he said. (IANS)

Next Story

Social Networking Giant Facebook Blames Apple iOS for Bezos’ Phone Hacking

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages

0
Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

Facebook has blamed Apple’s operating system for the hacking of Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ phone, saying WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is unhackable.

Investigators believe that Bezos’s iPhone was compromised after he received a 4.4MB video file containing malware via WhatsApp – in the same way when phones of 1,400 select journalists and human rights activists were broken into by Pegasus software from Israel-based NSO Group last year.

In an interview to the BBC last week, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg, said it wasn’t WhatsApp’s fault because end-to-end encryption is unhackable and blamed Apple’s operating system for Bezos’ episode.

“It sounds like something on the, you know, what they call the operate, operated on the phone itself. It can’t have been anything on the, when the message was sent, in transit, because that’s end-to-end encrypted on WhatsApp,” Clegg told the show host.

Clegg compared the hack to opening a malicious email, saying that “it only comes to life when you open it”.

According to a report from FTI Consulting, a firm that has investigated Bezos’ phone, after that the video file was received, Bezos’ phone started sending unusually large amounts of outbound data, including his intimate messages with his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and owner of Blue Origin. (Wikimedia commons)

According to Clegg, “something” must have affected the phone’s operating system.

“As sure as you can be that the technology of end-to-end encryption cannot, other than unless you have handset, or you have the message at either end, cannot be hacked into,” he was quoted as saying.

Apple was yet to comment on Facebook’s statement.

The NSO Group has denied it was part of Bezos’ hacking.

Also Read: Here Are Some Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Freedom Fighters this Republic Day

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages. But the piece of NSO Group software exploited WhatsApp’s video calling system by installing the spyware via missed calls to snoop on the selected users.

According to leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy, end-to-end encrypted apps (E2EE) do provide security, and messages or calls cannot be intercepted and decrypted en route without enormous computing resources.

“But once anyone can get to your handset, whether a human or a piece of software, the encryption doesn’t matter anymore. Because on your handset, it’s all decrypted,” Roy told IANS recently. (IANS)