Occurred: August 2023
'Digital identity and financial network' Worldcoin had its operations suspended in Kenya after regulators raised concerns about its collection and storage of sensitive biometric data.
Worldcoin had seen strong demand from Kenyan citizens to register for the platform, which uses a 'chrome orb' to scan the irises and faces of people agreeing to sign up for a share of its new WLD currency.
However, Kenyan regulators pointed out that Worldcoin had no need to collect users’ iris data, and was not regulated in the country. In October 2023 a Kenyan parliamentary committee recommended (pdf) that Worldcoin had violated Kenyan law and be shut down until the country established proper regulations over virtual assets.
The committee also accused the company of ‘espionage’ and suggested it had been scanning the eyeballs of children. It also called for criminal investigations into Tools for Humanity Corp., the company behind Worldcoin, Tools for Humanity GmbH, Germany (Worldcoin), and its Kenyan partners.
Operator: Tools for Humanity/Worldcoin
Developer: Tools for Humanity/Worldcoin
Sector: Banking/financial services
Purpose: Develop digital identity
Technology: Iris scanning; Facial detection; Vital signs detection; Blockchain; Virtual currency
Issue: Privacy; Security; Legality
Transparency: Governance; Privacy; Marketing
Published: November 2023