Thursday, June 20, 2024
HomeAltcoinsPortugal Temporarily Halts Worldcoin's Biometric Data Collection Amid Privacy Concerns

Portugal Temporarily Halts Worldcoin’s Biometric Data Collection Amid Privacy Concerns

The Portuguese National Data Protection Commission (CNPD) has taken a decisive step to safeguard the privacy of its citizens, particularly minors, by temporarily restricting Worldcoin’s biometric data collection through its Orb devices. This move, effective immediately, marks a significant intervention in the operations of Worldcoin, a project spearheaded by Sam Altman, the CEO and co-founder of OpenAI. Worldcoin’s unique approach involves scanning users’ irises to create digital IDs and allocate its cryptocurrency, having enrolled over 4.5 million participants across 120 nations, including 300,000 in Portugal alone.

The CNPD’s action follows an investigation initiated on March 8, driven by concerns over the legality of processing minors’ biometric data without appropriate consent. The authority received numerous reports indicating that Worldcoin collected data from minors without obtaining necessary approvals from parents or legal guardians. This situation raised alarms about potential breaches of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards, prompting the CNPD to intervene urgently to prevent any serious or irreparable harm to citizens’ fundamental rights.

Paula Meira Lourenço, the president of the CNPD, emphasized the necessity of this measure to protect public interest and the fundamental rights of minors, labeling the intervention as “indispensable and justified.”

The spotlight on Worldcoin has grown not just in Portugal but globally, with various countries expressing concerns over its operations. Kenya has maintained a ban on the project amidst alleged pressures from the United States to ease restrictions. Similarly, legal authorities in Spain have instructed Worldcoin to halt its activities due to issues related to consent withdrawal and unauthorized data collection from minors.

Despite these challenges, Worldcoin has defended its compliance with legal standards in all operational regions. On March 18, the company asserted its lawful operations and commitment to adhering to relevant laws. Furthermore, in an effort to address privacy concerns, Worldcoin announced on March 22 its plans to open-source its software and introduce a “personal custody” feature, aiming to enhance users’ control over their personal data. This move reflects Worldcoin’s ongoing efforts to navigate the complex landscape of global data protection regulations while promoting its innovative approach to digital identity and cryptocurrency distribution.

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