Digital Currency and Threats to Privacy in the Age of Digitalization

Friday, May 10, 2024

Digital Currency and Threats to Privacy in the Age of Digitalization

We held a conference in Riga, together with Suverena vera party, featuring key speakers on the topic of digital currencies and the implications that has for our privacy. The event attracted fifty-five participants from various sectors of society, highlighting the importance of this issue to the Latvian public.

On behalf of ECPM, campaign manager Adriana Rus opened the event with an overview of ECPM's origins, activities and objectives. She underlined the significance of Christian perspectives in European politics and emphasized ECPM's commitment to human dignity and relational economics. The party places a great importance on robust privacy safeguards and transparent regulatory frameworks to harmonize technological progress with freedoms and right to privacy.

Davids Klavins, member of Suverena vara, defined and explained what Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) are, and informed the audience about how widespread they already are, with 90% of the world's central banks exploring or piloting this type of currency. He highlighted the big difference between decentralized cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, and CBDCs, which are controlled and issued by central banks and where the government can interfere and impose restrictions, freeze accounts, lock users out, etc. Although governments are advocating for CBDCs, citing benefits such as quicker and safe payments, Klavins cautioned potential loss of financial privacy and increased state control over a citizen's financial activities.

MEP Cristian Terhes presented a strong critique of the ongoing debates in the European Parliament about the digital euro. He cautioned that while aiming to combat money laundering and tax evasion, introducing digital currencies could pave the way for increased state surveillance and erosion of personal freedoms. Terhes painted a grim picture where governmental access to personal data and control over digital currency holdings could result in extensive monitoring of financial transactions, ultimately leading to what he termed as a "digital prison." Despite mounting concerns from experts, discussions on this matter persist, compelling Terhes to call for resistance against this trend to safeguard individual liberty and curb authoritarian influence.

Julija Stepanenko, chairwoman of Suverena vara, emphasized the significant risks associated with digital currencies. She is using her platform and voice to urge decision-makers to reconsider implementation, arguing that digital currencies could lead to increased surveillance and restrictions on individual freedoms, exacerbating social inequality and consolidating power in the hands of a few. She stressed the importance of preserving cash circulation within the European Union to maintain consumer and business freedom, warning that digitalization can limit human freedom.

The event concluded with Q&A, when participants were encouraged to pay attention to euro candidates' platforms and political proposals and to vote for those who commit to defending fundamental freedoms and. On behalf of ECPM, Ms. Rus encouraged them to use their vote on June 8 and not let others decide for them.

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From 2010 on, the activities of the ECPM are financially supported by the European Parliament. The liability for any communication or publication by the ECPM, in any form and any medium, rests with the ECPM. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.