Spain halts Worldcoin crypto project over privacy concerns

Connie Queline

Spain halts Worldcoin crypto project over privacy concerns

The Spanish government’s data protection agency (AEPD) on Wednesday ordered cryptocurrency project Worldcoin to suspend its activities in the country.
The suspension order applies to signing up new users and processing information the foundation already has. The agency said its order will be valid for a period of three months.
AEPD cited privacy concerns, warning that the processing of “biometric data…entails high risks for people’s rights, taking into account their sensitive nature.”
The decision was based on “exceptional circumstances” triggering the need to protect people’s personal data, AEPD said.
AEPD also said it has received several complaints about the cryptocurrency project, including issues about insufficient information regarding the use of clients’ personal information and the ability to object to it. It has also received complaints over whether the project has information on minors.
What is Worldcoin?
Worldcoin was founded by three people including Sam Altman, who is best known as the CEO ofOpenAI, the tech startup that’s behind the viral chatbot ChatGPT. It was launched in 2023, and its leaders say their aim is to give people a form of identity that could never be stolen.
To get a “World ID,” a person signs up for an in-person iris scan at centers that have opened around the world. The scans are completed via “orbs,” devices that captures images of people’s irises, or colored parts of the eyes.
Worldcoin and the company backing it, Berlin-based Tools for Humanity, offered people cash in the form of a digital coin — if local regulations allow it — when people sign up to get scanned.
But Worldcoin, which argues that data is used to create a secure form of identification, has since run into major trouble with regulators around the world regarding concerns about the collection, storage and use of personal data.
Kenya has suspended new user sign-ups, while Germany and France have raised privacy concerns and launched their own investigation into Worldcoin’s operations.
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