FB pixel

Kenya bans Worldcoin activities as citizens trade biometrics for tokens

Kenya bans Worldcoin activities as citizens trade biometrics for tokens

Worldcoin, which says it wants to build a “more human internet” with its World ID credential and globular iris scanning device, has been told that the its plan is not welcome in Kenya until its biometric data collection practices have passed a legal assessment, according to Africa News.

The country’s Ministry of Home Affairs announced it is suspending Worldcoin’s enrollments and cryptocurrency issuance while “the relevant government agencies certify the absence of any risk to the public.”

Worldcoin, which was founded by OpenAI’s Sam Altman, is doling out free crypto to anyone who undergoes an iris scan by staring into the eye of the Orb, its somewhat dystopian looking biometric capture and imaging device. In Kenya, tokens are worth approximately 7700 shillings, or around US$54 – no small amount when the national gross income per capita is around US$2,170. The offer has worked, with thousands of people showing out in the capital of Nairobi this week to trade their iris scans for crypto and a digital ID.

But concerns about Worldcoin’s commitment to privacy and the legality of its practices mean that, for now, anyone left holding a Worldcoin token will have to wait to cash it. Although the company’s parent, Tools for Humanity GmbH, is registered with the data commissioner as a data processor, and can legally collect private data from residents, privacy experts say there is no guarantee that it will do what it says with whatever data it collects. As well, there have been questions about the biometric security of the Orb, after malware was found on operators’ personal devices.

Despite such concerns, Worldcoin is forging ahead with its plan for global domination, aiming to deploy 1,500 Orbs around the world. As reported by Reuters, the company wants to build a massive financial and identity community that can be of use to organizations, businesses, and governments. Regional manager for Europe, Ricardo Macieira, says the infrastructure could provide a framework for universal basic income and “global democratic processes.” Or, on a smaller scale, cafes wanting to give away freebies while deterring people from taking multiples could scan their customers’ irises to make sure they take one coffee, and no more.

“The idea is that anyone can in the future build their own orb and use it to benefit the community that it’s aiming for,” says Macieira, who confirmed that Worldcoin intends to continue expanding operations in Europe, Latin America and Africa, as well as “all the parts of the world that will accept us.”

Kenya joins regulators in the UK, France, Germany, and Mexico who have all launched investigations into the legality and ethics of Worldcoin’s biometric capture and storage practices.

Article Topics

 |   |   |   |   |   |   | 

Latest Biometrics News


UK gov’t introduces new digital identity verification services bill

The UK government has announced a coming identity verification services bill that will support digital ID products and services from…


EES launch postponed to November, EU’s biometric border app may still not be ready

A smartphone app designed to streamline queues for the EU’s upcoming border checks will not be available in time for…


US government transitions Veteran’s Affairs, IRS to Login.gov or ID.me

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says it will implement a more streamlined login process for veterans to access…


Data breach raises questions about Fractal ID’s decentralized identity architecture

A data breach at decentralized digital identity verification provider Fractal ID has exposed the ID documents and facial images of…


Physical IDs no longer mandatory in Azerbaijan, where 65% use digital identity

Physical and digital IDs have reached parity in Azerbaijan, where the government has announced that identity information provided through the…


Recfaces argues biometric data privacy rule carries Olympics security risk

RecFaces is calling for facial recognition technology (FRT) to be used as a key security measure to protect critical infrastructure…


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Featured Company