Parliamentary committee calls for shutdown of Worldcoin in Kenya

Parliamentary committee calls for shutdown of Worldcoin in Kenya


A parliamentary committee in Kenya’s government tasked with investigating Worldcoin has recommended that regulators shut down the project’s operations in the country.

According to a report released on Sept. 30 by Kenya’s parliament, Worldcoin has continued to collect personal data of Kenya’s residents “in total disregard” of an order to stop issued in May — potentially including information from minors. The committee recommended that Kenyan authorities “disable the virtual platforms” of Worldcoin as well as investigate its companies for potential criminal charges.

“The registration of Kenyans by Worldcoin online App is still going on despite the pendency of a court order and other administrative directions halting the same in entirety,” the report say.

Sept. 27 parliamentary report on Worldcoin’s activities in Kenya. Source: Parliament of Kenya

The report cited privacy concerns for Kenya’s residents, but added that it was difficult or impossible to determine the number of “orbs” in the country — the devices Worldcoin uses to allow users to submit scans of their irises for verification. The committee’s recommendations include having the government consider implementing a comprehensive framework for digital assets and virtual asset service providers in Kenya alongside amending existing regulations to consider cybercrimes and tax reporting requirements.

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Lawmakers added:

“The unregulated adoption and use of cryptocurrency as an attempt to fully decentralize the global monetary systems, poses threat to statehood.”

Related: Worldcoin launch sparks debate over data privacy and future of AI

Worldcoin, launched with the stated intention of distinguishing real people from bots online by providing retinal scans for identity verification, had millions of sign-ups by July. However, the project has drawn the scrutiny of regulators globally, who claim it is circumventing regulations and guidelines on data protection and user privacy.

Authorities in Germany, Argentina, France and the United Kingdom have either raised concerns about Worldcoin or launched inquiries into its activities. Cointelegraph reached out to Worldcoin but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

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