Governments Worldwide Scrutinize Worldcoin Over Data Privacy Concerns
A growing number of governments across the globe are closely examining Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency project co-founded by Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI. Launched in July, Worldcoin has attracted approximately 2.3 million users who have signed up to have their irises scanned by the project’s orb devices in exchange for a digital ID and free cryptocurrency.
The primary objective of Worldcoin’s digital ID is to enable users to prove their humanity online, particularly in a future world where artificial intelligence dominates. However, the project has faced criticism from privacy advocates due to concerns surrounding its data collection practices. Worldcoin has stated that it either deletes or stores the collected biometric data in encrypted form and is committed to collaborating with regulators.
Various governments have begun taking action regarding Worldcoin:
Argentina: The Agencia de Acceso a Informacion Publica (AAIP), Argentina’s data regulator, has initiated an investigation into Worldcoin’s collection, storage, and use of personal data. In a letter sent on August 7th, the AAIP requested information from Worldcoin on the project’s risk mitigation strategies and the legal basis for processing personal data.
United Kingdom: In July, Britain’s data regulator announced that it would examine Worldcoin. The Information Commissioner’s Office stated that it had taken note of the project’s launch in the UK and would conduct further inquiries.
France: France’s data watchdog, CNIL, carried out checks at Worldcoin’s Paris office at the end of August. CNIL had previously expressed concerns about the legality of Worldcoin’s biometric data collection practices.
Germany: A German data watchdog has been investigating Worldcoin since late last year, citing concerns regarding the project’s large-scale processing of sensitive biometric data. Financial regulator Bafin is also reportedly looking into the digital currency.
Kenya: In August, Kenya suspended Worldcoin’s local activities while the government assessed potential risks to public safety. The Communications Authority of Kenya and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner raised concerns, including the possibility of consumer consent being influenced by monetary rewards.
Portugal: Portugal’s data regulator, CNPD, inspected Worldcoin’s local data collection operation and has been in contact with the Bavarian data protection authority in Germany. The CNPD will publicize the outcome of its inquiry in due time.
As Worldcoin faces increased scrutiny from governments worldwide, it will need to demonstrate its commitment to data privacy and collaborate closely with regulatory bodies. While the project aims to offer innovative solutions in a world shaped by AI, addressing concerns surrounding data collection and storage will be essential for its long-term success.
(Note: This article has been rephrased to adhere to guidelines and generate high-quality content.)