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Spain is the latest country to block Worldcoin over data protection concerns

Spain is the latest country to block Worldcoin over data protection concerns

Spain has temporarily banned Worldcoin, making it the latest country to impose restrictions on the iris biometrics firm’s operations. Spanish data protection regulator AEPD has ordered Worldcoin to immediately cease collecting personal information, and stop using data it has already gathered, for a period of up to three months.

The regulator says its ban is in response to a number of complaints, variously regarding the company providing insufficient information, collecting data from minors and failing to provide a mechanism to withdraw consent. It claims the ban is necessary to ensure that any biometric data Worldcoin collects from individuals is protected as per the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Worldcoin representatives have repeatedly rejected the notion that their firm, a subsidiary of Tools for Humanity, is engaged in unlawful activity. Company Data Protection Officer Jannick Preiwisch tells Reuters that after repeated unsuccessful attempts to contact AEPD, it is “grateful to now have the opportunity” to help the regulator “better understand this essential and lawful technology.”

Clearly, many are not convinced of Worldcoin’s noble intentions. In Europe, Portugal, France and Germany are looking into whether Worldcoin’s activities comply with the GDPR. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office has questions. The firm’s Hong Kong offices were raided. Argentina and Kenya have both raised alarms. (Although Kenyan operations are set to resume.) This week, South Korea joined the chorus of consternation over potential legal breaches.

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