Home Watchdog suspends controversial Worldcoin project

Watchdog suspends controversial Worldcoin project

March 27th – The Portuguese data protection authority has ordered Worldcoin, a controversial project aiming to create a global digital identity system, to temporarily halt collection of biometric data from Portuguese citizens.

The National Data Protection Commission (CNPD) announced the suspension on March 26th, citing concerns over Worldcoin’s unauthorized data gathering, including data collection from minors.

About Worldcoin

Worldcoin, founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and others in 2019, encourages people to scan their irises with its “orb” device in exchange for a digital ID and free cryptocurrency tokens.

The project has raised around $240 million from prominent investors, like Andreessen Horowitz, and claims over 4.5 million sign-ups across 120 countries. The stated mission is for the technology to help build a more equitable and internet-driven global economy.

Practices in Portugal

The CNPD has stated that it’s received dozens of complaints about Worldcoin’s practices in Portugal over the past month. With over 300,000 Portuguese having provided biometric data, the regulator deemed urgent intervention necessary in order to prevent permanent harm.

Worldcoin’s data protection officer, Jannick Preiwisch, denied any wrongdoing, stating full compliance with regulations and a zero tolerance policy for underage sign-ups.

The Portuguese suspension follows similar temporary bans in Spain and Kenya over privacy and security worries, exposing the challenges that Worldcoin faces in its controversial quest.

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