Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith sought to get ahead of privacy concerns about the government's ability to track individual spending if a digital pound is launched.
Listen to the CoinMarketRecap podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts
The government has no intention of making the digital pound a tool of a surveillance state, a U.K. minister has told a parliamentary hearing.
"If we do collectively decide to proceed with that, it will be a platform model that wouldn't allow the government to know individual transaction data."
Such a model, he said, envisages the government having "anonymized knowledge of individual providers" — probably banks — and those providers in turn providing digital wallets to consumers.
That's the limit to which information would sit other than as necessary to allow things like anti-money-laundering tools like those already in use. Griffith added:
"The government takes that extremely seriously and we would not be pursuing something that … our people would characterize as a surveillance state."
An Issue Everywhere
Even in China, however, privacy is a big concern, with the government working to reassure people that their every purchase will not be tracked — a process it often characterized as "controllable anonymity."
Transactions would only be monitored when there is a reason to suspect money laundering, terrorist financing or tax evasion, according to Mu Changchun, head of the DCRI.
"We need to ensure there is a limited scope for user information to be used," he said. Which is a concern in the land of the social credit score.