Worldcoin Ordered To Stop Operations In Kenya

A Kenyan parliamentary committee has urged the country’s information technology regulator to halt the operations of the cryptocurrency project Worldcoin within Kenya until more stringent regulations are established.

The government initially suspended the project in early August due to concerns about user privacy, particularly regarding the scanning of irises in exchange for a digital ID to create a new “identity and financial network.”

Worldcoin, initiated by Tools for Humanity, a company co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, was introduced in various countries worldwide and has also faced scrutiny in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.

Despite the suspension in August, the project maintains a virtual presence in Kenya and remains accessible via the internet.

The ad hoc panel, comprising 18 lawmakers, recommended that the Communications Authority of Kenya should “disable the virtual platforms of Tools for Humanity Corp and Tools for Humanity GmbH Germany (Worldcoin) and blacklist the IP addresses of related websites.”

They also called for the suspension of the companies’ physical operations in Kenya until a legal framework for regulating virtual assets and virtual service providers is established.

In response, Worldcoin’s press office stated that it had not received any official announcements directly from the Committee.

The panel’s report will be presented to the National Assembly for future consideration and adoption.

During the suspension of data collection in August, authorities raised concerns about the project’s method of obtaining consumer consent in exchange for a monetary reward of just over $50 at the time, suggesting it could be seen as inducement.

The registration process involved long queues of people waiting to have their irises scanned. The parliamentary panel’s investigation also revealed that Worldcoin may have scanned the eyes of minors due to the lack of an age-verification mechanism during the exercise, as stated in their report.

Furthermore, the panel called on government ministries to develop regulations for cryptocurrency assets and firms offering crypto services, while also urging the police to investigate Tools for Humanity and take any necessary legal actions.

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