A Kenyan parliamentary committee has recommended a complete suspension of Worldcoin, a controversial blockchain-based project, within the country. The call comes after concerns arose over non-compliance with a previous order to halt its operations, which the report alleged the blockchain operation had ignored while continuing to collect sensitive personal data from its users, including potentially from minors.
Worldcoin has been accused of proceeding with data collection via its online app, despite explicit restrictions, outlined in an order issued in May, designed to halt such actions. Privacy concerns, as well as uncertainties over monitoring and control have led to calls for urgent action against Worldcoin’s operations. Authorities have urged for a thorough investigation into all associated entities for potential criminal activities.
In addition to the privacy concerns, the report highlighted challenges faced in determining the number of Worldcoin’s ‘orbs’ in Kenya. These devices are used by Worldcoin to scan user irises as part of identity verification process. The parliamentary committee proposed the development and implementation of a comprehensive framework to govern both digital assets and virtual asset service providers in Kenya. There were also calls for amendments to current guidelines to address cybercrimes and tax compliance.
Worldcoin’s adoption and use of unregulated cryptocurrency as part of a wider plan to decentralise global money systems was also flagged by legislators as a potential threat. Their expressed worries centre on the fact that such operations could undermine the authority of the state.
Despite an ambitious launch, with the declared aim of differentiating real people from bots by requiring retina scans, Worldcoin has been viewed sceptically by international regulators. Their primary concern lies in the company’s perceived attempts to contravene norms and standards relating to data protection and user privacy. Various nations, including Germany, Argentina, France and the United Kingdom, have either voiced apprehensions about Worldcoin’s operations or initiated investigations, further escalating the level of scrutiny this blockchain company is facing. Despite all these allegations, Worldcoin is yet to respond officially or address the concerns raised.