Portuguese data regulator bans Worldcoin operations for 90 days

    2024.03.26 | exchangesranking | 64onlookers

    The Portuguese data regulator — the National Data Protection Commission (CNPD) — issued a statement with the decision to temporarily limit Worldcoin’s collection of biometric data through its Orb devices within the country. 

    According to the CNPD, the decision was made in an effort to protect the rights of its citizens, minors in particular. The measure will take effect immediately and until the conclusion of an investigation, which it initially opened on March 8.

    Worldcoin operates through scanning individual’s irises via its Orbdevices, which it exchanges for a digital ID and its own cryptocurrency.

    Worldcoin was founded by Sam Altman, the CEO and co-founder of artificial intelligence developer OpenAI.

    According to the company, over 4.5 million in 120 countries have signed up with Worldcoin. Portugal reports that 300,000 people have already provided their biometric data for the project. 

    The CNPD said these measures come after receiving “dozens of reports” on the collection of data from minors without the proper authorization from parents or legal authorities. They said:

    “Given the current circumstances, in which there is illegality in the processing of minors' biometric data, associated with potential violations of other GDPR standards, the CNPD understood that the risk to citizens' fundamental rights is high, justifying urgent intervention to prevent serious or irreparable damage.”

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    Paula Meira Lourenço, president of the CNPD, called the measure “indispensable and justified” to effectively defend the public interest in safeguarding fundamental rights, especially those of minors. 

    The complaint was addressed to the Worldcoin Foundation, which is the entity behind the Worldcoin data collection initiative.

    These troubles follow a slew of other complaints from regulators around the world. The Kenyan government continued to uphold its ban on the project despite what it said was “pressure” from the United States to relax its stance.

    Legal authorities in Spain have also told Worldcoin to cease activity in the country after complaints that local users could not withdraw their consent. It was also alleged that data collection was being collected from minors.

    Despite these bans, on March 18, Worldcoin released a statement assuring that it operates “lawfully in all of the locations in which it is available” and is designed to fully comply with related law.

    On March 22, the project announced that it would be open-sourcing its software and providing a new “personal custody” privacy feature to give users more control over their data.

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