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Portugal orders Worldcoin to stop collecting biometric data


The National Data Protection Commission (CNPD) of Portugal ordered this Tuesday, 26th, that Worldcoin (WLD), a controversial cryptocurrency company created by Sam Altman, the main name behind OpenAI and ChatGPT, suspend the collection of biometric data through your Orbs device in the country.

Worldcoin is a project that combines cryptocurrency and iris scanning technology to create a global digital identity system. It was started in 2019 by Tools for Humanity (TFH), a company founded by Altman, Max Novendstern and Alex Blania. The company encourages people around the world to have their faces scanned by Orbs devices in exchange for a digital ID and free cryptocurrency — through its own token, WLD.

The goal, according to the founders, is to drive a more unified and equitable global economy, driven by the internet economy. The project claims that more than 4.5 million people in 120 countries have signed up. It has reportedly raised a total of around $240 million in funding from major investors such as venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

While the technology behind the Worldcoin project was developed by TFH, the overall initiative is supported by the Worldcoin Foundation, an exempt limited guarantee foundation incorporated in the Cayman Islands.

The CNPD stated that more than 300,000 people in Portugal provided their biometric data to Worldcoin. However, the data protection body has also received dozens of complaints in the last month, citing Worldcoin’s unauthorized collection of data from minors, “deficiencies in the information provided to data subjects” and “the impossibility of erasing the data or withdraw consent.” The agency assesses that there is a high risk to citizens’ data protection rights, which justifies urgent intervention to avoid serious damage.

The order to suspend data collection from Worldcoin will be temporary and will allow the regulatory body to analyze complaints and carry out additional due diligence.

Jannick Preiwisch, director of data protection at the Worldcoin Foundation, said Worldcoin was “fully compliant with all laws and regulations governing the collection and transfer of biometric data.” “The CNPD report is the first time we have heard about many of these issues, including reports of minor registrations in Portugal, for which we have zero tolerance and are working to resolve in all instances, even if it is a subject of some reports ,” Preiwisch said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

The suspension by the Portuguese agency is not the first blow that Worldcoin has suffered in its quest to establish a global digital identity system. In early March, Spain’s data protection regulator (Spanish Data Protection Agency, or AEPD) issued a similar three-month ban on Worldcoin in response to complaints.

In August 2023, Kenya, one of the first countries where Worldcoin was launched, suspended the project’s registration, citing security, privacy and financial concerns.


Source: CisoAdvisor

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