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Worldcoin open-sources multi-party computation system

Enhances biometric data security for Worldcoin, potentially others
Worldcoin open-sources multi-party computation system

Worldcoin is introducing a process for processing biometrics and other data that it believes is secure enough for other companies to use it to protect themselves and their customers.

The firm, co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, has already amassed more than 10 million enrolments in over 160 countries worldwide. It has had its fair share of run-ins with regulatory bodies and governments, who have variously accused it of collecting biometrics without proper age verification, undermining statehood and other nefarious practices. But it appears to be adapting to legal requirements, or at least gesturing toward compliance and transparency.

Part of this is the announcement that it has launched and is open sourcing a novel secure multi-party computation (SMPC) system. A release from the company says the system is available in a GitHub repository for any organization to use, and aims to set a new standard for the protection of biometric data. It has also migrated its iris codes to the SMPC system and deleted the previous uniqueness-checking system and any codes it retained.

Integrating multi-party computation was the goal of a project that won a grant from the Worldcoin Foundation earlier this year.

SMPC encrypts iris codes into secret shares held by multiple parties, for a decentralized identity immune to quantum computing attacks. The firm says its technology solves problems related to scale and resourcing that have hindered previous efforts. Jannick Preiwisch, data protection officer of the Worldcoin Foundation, points out that it is also a practical illustration of Worldcoin’s promise to follow the rules: “The development of this new system demonstrates an unparalleled commitment to further compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation and other data protection regimes across the world.”

Worldcoin notes that it uses biometrics for deduplication, not identification or authentication. The now-open source software, however, can be used for these more common biometric applications. As such, the open-source software joins a marketplace already populated by providers using multi-party computation including Anonybit, Keyless, authID and Youverse.

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