Worldcoin Ordered to Halt Biometric Data Collection in Another Country: Report

Worldcoin is yet again under scrutiny due to its “proof of personhood” project in Europe, which seeks to expand its user base by having individuals verify their humanity through eyeball scans.

As per the Worldcoin website, the project has over 4.5 million sign-ups from 120 countries.

Worldcoin Ordered to Halt Biometric Data Collection

According to Reuters, the Portugal data regulator, CNPD, has mandated Worldcoin to suspend its collection of personal data for 90 days.

CNPD cited a significant risk to citizens’ data protection rights, warranting urgent intervention to prevent potential harm. Notably, over 300,000 individuals in Portugal have already provided Worldcoin with their biometric data.

In response, Tools for Humanity, the lead software contributor to Worldcoin, asserted via email that the project adheres to all laws and regulations governing the collection and transfer of biometric data.

Jannick Preiwisch, the data protection officer at Worldcoin Foundation, emphasized the foundation’s respect for the role and responsibilities of data protection authorities such as CNPD. Preiwisch acknowledged that the CNPD report was the first communication on these matters, including others of underage sign-ups in Portugal, which the foundation stated it has zero tolerance for and is actively addressing.

CNPD clarified that the order to cease data collection is temporary and intended to facilitate further due diligence and analysis of complaints during an ongoing investigation.

Worldcoin Faces Regulatory Scrutiny

Worldcoin recently introduced “Personal Custody,” eliminating the storage and encryption of biometric data to give users greater control over their personal information. Tiago Sada from Tools for Humanity mentioned that this update gives users control over their data, enhancing their peace of mind.

According to Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, who co-founded the company behind Worldcoin, Worldcoin aims to establish an identity and financial network. Despite its ambitions, Worldcoin has faced scrutiny and regulatory challenges.

Privacy campaigners, including the UK-based Big Brother Watch, have voiced concerns over collecting personal data, particularly biometric information, due to the potential for data breaches or exploitation. Madeleine Stone, a senior advocacy officer at Big Brother Watch, cautioned that digital ID systems often fail to deliver the promised benefits.

The scrutiny has led to regulatory action in various countries. Spain’s data protection regulator imposed a three-month ban on Worldcoin in response to complaints, while Kenya suspended its activities in August. The Bavarian state regulator is leading an investigation into Worldcoin under the European Union’s data protection rules due to the presence of a German subsidiary of Tools for Humanity, the company behind Worldcoin.

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