Portugal bans Worldcoin for 90 days for jeopardising citizen privacy

Occurred: March 2024

Portugal’s data regulator ordered iris-scanning project Worldcoin to halt the collection of biometric data for 90 days due to concerns over citizens’ data protection rights.

Worldcoin, a project that combines cryptocurrency and iris scan technology to create a global digital identity system, encourages people to have their faces scanned by its “orb” devices in exchange for a digital ID and free cryptocurrency

Portugal's National Data Protection Commission (CNPD) received dozens of complaints about the unauthorised collection of data from minors, deficiencies in the information provided to the data subjects, and the impossibility of erasing the data or withdrawing consent. Over 300,000 people in Portugal have reportedly provided Worldcoin with their biometric data.

Worldcoin’s data protection officer, Jannick Preiwisch, said that Worldcoin was fully compliant with all laws and regulations governing the collection and transfer of biometric data. The company also mentioned that it began a transition to “Personal Custody” in March, which would give users control over their data, including deletion and any future use.

The order to stop data collection is temporary while the CNPD carries out additional due diligence and analyses complaints during an investigation. This is not the first time Worldcoin has faced such a suspension - Spain having issued a similar ban.

Operator: Tools for Humanity/Worldcoin
Developer: Tools for Humanity/Worldcoin
Country: Portugal
Sector: Banking/financial services
Purpose: Develop digital identity
Technology: Iris scanning; Facial detection; Vital signs detection; Blockchain; Virtual currency
Issue: Privacy
Transparency: Governance; Marketing

Legal, regulatory 👩🏼‍⚖️