Worldcoin faces UK data watchdog probe over biometric data
The Information Commissions Office (ICO) will review the project by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman to ensure it complies with data protection laws and regulations.
The Information Commissions Office (ICO), the UK’s data protection and privacy regulator, has announced that it will conduct a thorough investigation into Worldcoin, the new project led by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman that aims to create a digital passport for humanity.
Worldcoin, which launched on Monday, claims to be a digital passport that can help holders prove they are human and access various benefits and services. The project uses a spherical device called an “orb” that scans the user’s eye and generates a unique biometric identifier. The user then receives Worldcoin tokens (WLD) as a reward for joining the network.
The ICO said it will examine whether Worldcoin has a clear legal basis for processing personal data, especially biometric data, which is considered sensitive under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The ICO also said it will ensure that Worldcoin obtains free and revocable consent from its users and protects their privacy and rights.
“We note the launch of WorldCoin in the U.K. and will be making further enquiries,” a spokesperson for the ICO told CoinDesk. “Organizations need to have a clear lawful basis to process personal data. Where they are relying on consent, this needs to be freely given and capable of being withdrawn without detriment.”
According to the Worldcoin Foundation, the team behind the project, Worldcoin adheres to strict privacy guidelines and does not store any biometric data on its servers. The foundation also said that Worldcoin is fully compliant with all laws and regulations governing biometric data collection and data transfer, including Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation.
“With regard to GDPR, Worldcoin is fully compliant with all laws and regulations governing biometric data collection and data transfer, including Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation,” a company spokesperson said. “We are continuing to assess local laws and regulations to ensure compliance.”
The launch of Worldcoin has generated massive interest, both in the UK and around the world, which is reflected in its growing user base. The project already had 2 million users from its beta launch and aims to reach billions of people in the future.
However, the project also faces challenges and uncertainties, both from a regulatory and a market perspective. The price of Worldcoin (WLD) has experienced significant fluctuations since its launch, which is common in the world of cryptocurrencies. After an initial big rise, the price has experienced a 36% decline from its high point ($3.30), currently trading at $2.10.