Anti-Surveillance CBDC Bill Won’t Protect Privacy: Advocacy Group

Digital rights group Fight for the Future reckons Rep. Emmer’s bill would allow the private sector to profit from an eventual US CBDC

article-image Malkov, modified by Blockworks


Digital rights group Fight for the Future isn’t convinced by a new CBDC anti-surveillance bill pitched to the US House Financial Services Committee.

US Congressman Tom Emmer introduced the “CBDC Anti-Surveillance Act” earlier this week. Co-sponsored by nine other Republicans, H.R 1122 seeks to amend the Federal Reserve Act to prohibit Fed banks from offering central bank digital currencies (CBDC)s to individuals.

It also seeks to prohibit the use of a digital dollar for the implementation of monetary policy. The act aligns with Emmer’s previous attempts to bar the Fed from issuing a CBDC directly to individuals in the name of privacy preservation. 

The fear is that CBDCs could expose individuals to unnecessary surveillance risks by the state — empowered by its newfound ability to track and trace every penny.

“Any digital version of the dollar must uphold our American values of privacy, individual sovereignty and free market competitiveness,” Emmer said in a statement. “Anything less opens the door to the development of a dangerous surveillance tool.”

Fight for the Future, however, has a problem with Emmer’s alternative to the Fed’s potential handling of CBDC transactions: private financial companies.

“Rep. Emmer is correct that a poorly-built digital dollar would cement surveillance and extremely concerning economic controls into our daily lives,” Fight for the Future said. 

It added: “We also agree on the need for the government to be transparent about CBDC projects — but where this bill falls short is in positioning the private sector as the sole option for intermediating digital dollar transactions.”

Invasive surveillance and morality policing are prevalent in various financial institutions such as Wells Fargo and Venmo, the nonprofit said in its own statement. Fight for the Future believes the bill would contribute to endangering vulnerable communities, including activists and abortion patients.

“The well-executed digital dollar the US deserves would provide the same level of privacy that cash has offered for millennia, by design,” the group said. “We need real alternatives with end-to-end encryption level privacy baked into the code itself.”

The Federal Reserve System is composed of 12 regional banks located throughout the US and a Board of Governors located in Washington, D.C.

“Financial surveillance, whether done by the government or financial institutions, treats everyone as if we are guilty until proven innocent and as if privacy is not a fundamental human right,” said Fight for the Future.

The group posited major financial institutions may resist implementing cash-level privacy, as it would impact profits deriving from exploiting personal data. 

In any case, the legislative process for Emmer’s bill has only just begun. A committee review comes next, before potentially proceeding to the House or Senate for consideration. From there, it would need to be signed by President Joe Biden into law.

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.


TUES, OCT. 8, 2024

Guided by the expertise of Blockworks Research Analysts team, this one day event will feature senior leaders, entrepreneurs, and developers from across the crypto industry. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in an immersive experience to explore the latest trends, […]

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research report cover graphics (1).jpg


Wormhole is a suite of open-source, permissionless protocols used to move assets and queries across blockchains.  Despite being a common misconception, Wormhole is not just a token bridge. Nevertheless, protocols can build token bridges on top of Wormhole by leveraging the cross-chain messaging provided.


Ether is a commodity just up until the point it is not, or, ether is not a commodity just up until the point it is — whichever you prefer


The bull-market conference was filled with good feelings but little clarity on where the crypto industry is headed next


The Friday ruling was issued as a default judgment because Sameer Ramani “appears to have fled the country”


Bitcoin’s previous record high against the Euro was set in September 2021


As bitcoin ETFs grow larger and more liquid, due diligence teams at wirehouses and other investment firms are more likely to clear them, Bitwise researcher says



The TRON DAO team attended ETH Denver, one of the leading events in the blockchain space