Kenyan parliament committee urges shutdown of Worldcoin

A parliamentary committee in the Kenyan government has issued a recommendation to regulators, urging them to shut down the operations of the controversial Worldcoin project in the country.

According to a report released by Kenya’s parliament, the committee found that, against a previous order to cease such activities issued in May, the project had continued to collect personal data from Kenyan residents. This data collection may include information from minors. In response, the committee has recommended that Kenyan authorities take action to “disable the virtual platforms” associated with Worldcoin and investigate the project’s affiliated companies for potential criminal charges.

“The registration of Kenyans by Worldcoin online App is still going on despite the pendency of a court order and other administrative directions halting the same in entirety.”

Worldcoin’s operations in Kenya

The report highlights the ongoing registration of Kenyan citizens by the Worldcoin online app, despite a court order and other administrative directives that explicitly prohibited such actions. Privacy concerns for Kenyan residents are cited in the report. It’s  also noted that it is difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain the number of “orbs” (devices that enable users to submit iris scans for identity verification) in the country.

The committee also suggested that the Kenyan government should consider establishing a comprehensive framework for digital assets and virtual asset service providers in the country. This would include potential amendments to existing regulations related to cybercrimes and tax reporting requirements. Lawmakers in the country expressed concerns about the unregulated adoption and use of cryptocurrencies, asserting that such attempts to fully decentralise the global monetary system pose a threat to the country.

Worldcoin initially launched with the goal of distinguishing real individuals from bots online through retinal scans for identity verification. Since the launch, though, the project has come under scrutiny from regulators worldwide who argue that it is circumventing regulations and guidelines related to data protection and user privacy.

Regulators in Germany, Argentina, France, and the United Kingdom have noted that the are concerns about Worldcoin and have initiated investigations into its activities. The Kenyan parliamentary committee’s recommendation to shut down Worldcoin’s operations in the country highlights the ongoing debate surrounding the project’s data privacy practices and its impact on the global regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies and digital identity verification.

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