EU data protection body says digital euro designs must prioritize privacy

As Europe inches toward the creation of a digitized euro, a data-focused body within the EU is calling for any design proposal to prioritize privacy and protection.

The European Data Protection Board, created to implement Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), said that it "stresses that a very high standard of privacy and data protection is crucial to reinforce the trust of end users and should be considered a distinctive element in the offering of a digital euro, representing a key factor of success." The remarks were included in a letter approved Monday by the group, the text of which was not immediately available.

"Such concerns should be taken into account from the design stage. In addition, the EDPB recommends that the EU body in charge of the design of the project performs a high-level data protection impact assessment. The EDPB further indicates that it stands ready to provide advice to the ECB or other EU institution," the group said in its June 21 release

Discussions around the potential launch of a digital euro, which will likely take years to roll out once a design is approved, continue.

ECB president Christine Lagarde told European Parliament lawmakers Monday that "[t]he design of the digital euro will be discussed on 14 July by the ECB governing council with a view to finding a solution for the shrinking use of cash and facilitating access to it for people without bank accounts," according to a statement summarizing her remarks. Lagarde said in January that technical hurdles remain a key discussion point.