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Kenya Suspends WorldCoin Operations, Launches Investigation For Collecting Public Data

Jai Pratap
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: Pixabay 

The Ministry of Interior of Kenya has suspended the operations of Sam Altman’s WorldCoin and launched an investigation into the company for collecting public data. 

Kenya’s Ministry of Interior and National Administration issued a statement earlier today saying that the government is concerned by the ongoing activities of an organization calling itself “WorldCoin” which is involved in registration of citizens through their eyeball/iris data. 

The ministry further informed that relevant security, financial services and data protection agencies have commenced inquiries and investigations to establish the authenticity and legality of WorldCoin’s activities. 

The authorities are looking into the safety and protection of the data being harvested, and how the harvesters intend to use the data.

As reported earlier, WorldCoin is already facing regulatory backlash in many countires over its controversial iris scan program. 

WorldCoin’s Activities Raise Concern Among Authorities 

Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki assured that the Kenyan government would undertake all measures to make sure public safety and the integrity of the financial transactions involving such a large number of citizens be satisfactorily provided upfront.

The investigation was launched after people in large numbers started gathering outside malls where iris scans were being taken through WorldCoin’s Orb. 

The minister further reassured that appropriate action will be taken on any natural or juristic person who furthers, aids, abets or otherwise engages in or is connected with the activities until the government deems WorldCoin is safe. 

Following the government’s directive against WorldCoin, several police officers were deployed to disperse hundreds of people who were queuing at KICC, Nairobi for getting their iris scanned. 

The directive comes minutes after ICT Eliud Owalo had stated that the government was yet to kick out the international company as it had not broken any laws.

The instruction was issued a few minutes after Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications and the Digital Economy, Eliud Owalo emphasized in a statement that the international company had not violated any laws and thus hadn’t been expelled by the government.

WorldCoin Exploiting Loopholes in Kenya’s Laws For Data Protection?

In an interview with NTV, Owalo affirmed that the government was actively monitoring the activities of WorldCoin with the aim of comprehending its functioning and strategies for safeguarding data.

He highlighted that WorldCoin had exploited gaps present in Kenya’s data protection legislation to initiate its activities within the nation.The cabinet minister said:

Within the existing legal framework today, there are no provisions in the law that the organization has negated. However, there could be security and regulatory issues around it.

Over the course of the previous week, citizens of Kenya have been queuing up to register for the WorldCoin program, a program that grants individuals 25 complimentary tokens, designated as WLD, subsequent to confirming their human identity through iris scanning.

These tokens, provided at no cost, hold the potential for conversion into cryptocurrencies, thereby enabling their transformation into readily usable funds. Presently, the current value of 25 tokens equates to Ksh7,786, (worth $54) offering a tangible incentive for participation.