Otterbourg Attorney Explores Developing Fintech, Blockchain and Cybersecurity Issues in Recent News Articles

November 2, 2019

Otterbourg’s Privacy and Cybersecurity Chair Philip C. Berg, who also chairs the firm’s Corporate Practice, was quoted in three recent articles on developing fintech, blockchain and cybersecurity issues.

Law360 examined potential regulatory hurdles arising from Facebook’s central role in the proposed launch of the Libra blockchain.  Regarding the Swiss-based Libra Association, the governing body tasked with oversight of Libra’s new digital currency, Berg commented, "It is not hard to see why an association member or two — each with its own regulated business to run — would get a bit unnerved by any added regulatory scrutiny.”

Discussing the nature of the Libra token itself and whether it would be regulated as a security by the SEC or another agency, Berg explained, "We are just at the beginning of this transformative technology, and yes, the Libra Association may have bungled the rollout somewhat by not having more conversations with more regulators before making their big announcement."

Law360 also examined Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent grilling by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee over Libra and Facebook’s involvement via its digital wallet subsidiary Calibra.  Reacting to legislative and regulatory push-back in the U.S., Berg explained that with or without Libra, “the genie is already out of the bottle.  When the Libra Association white paper was dropped, China shortly after announced it was going to look at a similar product,” the launch of which U.S. regulators would be powerless to halt.

In a Legaltech News article analyzing the impact of high-profile tech companies such as Facebook using contractors to manually listen to users’ audio messages in the interest of improving Messenger’s artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, Berg discussed the impact of the Stored Communications Act:

“The law also provides a data sharing exemption if the content is necessary to deliver the service,” noted Berg. “One would argue they are trying to refine their artificial intelligence or voice recognition services, and it’s necessary to transcribe by a human to get that service right.”