Portugal suspends Worldcoin operations over data privacy concerns

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Portugal suspends Worldcoin operations over data privacy concerns

Authorities in Portugal have temporarily halted the Worldcoin cryptocurrency project in the country, citing data privacy concerns for minors.

Worldcoin, owned by OpenAI’s chief executive Sam Altman, commenced operations last year, providing users with a private digital identity after scanning their iris.

Portugal’s Data Protection Commission (CNDP) has announced that the suspension will last for the next three months while they conduct an investigation. They emphasized that this action aims to protect fundamental data protection rights, especially for children.

According to the commission, at the time of the suspension, over 300,000 people had their iris scanned in exchange for Worldcoin cryptocurrency.

Spain’s data protection agency had previously instructed the company to suspend its activities after receiving numerous complaints regarding data collection from minors and the absence of consent withdrawal options.

Last year, Kenyans flocked to shopping malls and other registration outlets in Nairobi to have their irises scanned for 25 free cryptocurrency tokens known as WLD. These tokens are presently valued at Ksh.8,256, with one token trading at Ksh.344.90.

The government halted all activities associated with the cryptocurrency project on Wednesday due to data security concerns.

OpenAI has asserted that user data is secure within the crypto project, with options to delete or store it in encrypted form.

But first, what data does Worldcoin collect from a user upon signing up?

On its website, Worldcoin states that it does not retrieve personal data from users when they download the World App. Personal data, in this context, includes name, phone number, and address.

“The World ID sign-up process is only intended to verify an individual’s uniqueness – i.e., that they have not previously signed up and received a World ID,” adds Worldcoin.

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