Crypto News | Ripple and Santander Plan Cross-Border Payment App

While its token is not as wildly popular as its platform, one thing is definitely true: Ripple has some impressive partners. Banking institutions all over the world make use of Ripple’s network to speed up international payments. And they don’t stop there. On Saturday, Nathan Bostock, the CEO of Santander’s UK branch, said that Ripple and Santander plan to launch a cross-border payment app and become the first large retail bank to enable international payments at scale. The payment app should allow its customers to settle international payments on the same day. It will first go live in Spain, Brazil, the UK, and Poland.

And while the project of Ripple and Santander may mean more traffic and more revenue for big banks, for the US government it just means more data to keep track of. If you know anything about how the Congress likes to pass unpopular bills, you know that they usually get sneaked into and voted together with a dull-sounding, completely unrelated, but crucial and necessary bill. For example, the federal spending bill, which was passed yesterday, also included the CLOUD Act, full name the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act. This act will make it legal for US intelligence and law enforcement agencies to demand access to information stored online from any other country anywhere in the world. It is up to the individual countries to decide whether they will give over the data or no, but considering the international influence the US exerts, it is pretty clear that few will refuse. What data will US law enforcement agencies be allowed to extract? Mostly emails, messages, and files, but it could logically be any data at all, since the specifics can be determined on a case-by-case basis. This is especially disconcerting for Bitcoin users, even though the fact that the law was passed so stealthily and without debate was the main target of criticism. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said that the act bypasses the “probable cause” requirement set by the Fourth Amendment. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) expressed concern that the law poses a threat to human rights and gives too much power to the executive branch. Massive tech companies, including Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Yahoo all offered support for the act in a joint statement. The companies believe that the act provides good compromise, acts as a legal framework, and even protects consumer rights. The argument is that it makes things more transparent, thus “Clarifying” and “Lawful”, as opposed to undercover, covert, and illegal surveillance we’ve been getting so far. 

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Author: Max Rothstein

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