The Kenyan government has taken the decision to suspend the operations of Worldcoin, a recently launched digital identity crypto project. Concerns were raised regarding Worldcoin’s activities involving the registration of citizens through the collection of eyeball/iris data. This move comes as several privacy regulators in the UK, France, and Germany have initiated separate investigations into the project’s data collection practices.
Kenya’s Response to Worldcoin
Kenya’s Ministry of the Interior released a statement on its official Facebook page announcing the suspension. The statement highlighted that Worldcoin and its products, including the WLD tokens, were not recognized investment products under local laws. The Capital Markets Authority also issued a cautionary statement, warning the public about the project’s activities and clarifying their lack of legal recognition.
News of Worldcoin’s financial incentives had spread rapidly among Kenyans, leading to a significant number of registrations with the project. Local reports indicated that the free WLD tokens were valued at approximately KSH 7,000, a substantial amount for many Kenyan citizens. Despite the suspension, data from CryptoSlate revealed a 5% increase in the value of the WLD token in the last 24 hours.
Data Privacy Concerns
The Kenyan government expressed concern about Worldcoin’s activities involving the collection of eyeball/iris data. It emphasized the need to investigate the authenticity and legality of these activities and how the collected data would be utilized. Various federal bodies, including data protection agencies, are currently conducting investigations to ascertain any potential risks to the general public.
Government Actions and Warning
In response to Worldcoin’s suspension, the Kenyan government has taken a firm stance. It has not only suspended the project’s activities but also warned individuals against supporting its operations within the country. Any abetment of the Sam Altman-backed project will be met with strict action in accordance with the law.
Worldcoin’s data collection practices have also caught the attention of privacy regulators in Germany, France, and the UK. These countries have launched separate investigations to scrutinize the project’s gathering of biometric data to verify identities. Germany’s top privacy regulator has been examining Worldcoin’s data collection practices since November 2022.
The Kenyan government’s suspension of Worldcoin reflects its concerns over data privacy and the legality of the project’s activities. It serves as a reminder of the growing scrutiny placed on digital identity projects and the need for transparent and accountable practices. The investigations conducted by various data protection agencies around the world highlight the importance of safeguarding individuals’ personal information in this rapidly evolving digital landscape.