Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Worldcoin Halts Operations in Spain Amid European Data Protection Investigations

Worldcoin has agreed to halt its data collection and processing activities in Spain until the end of 2024, as announced by the Spanish data watchdog, AEPD. This decision is in response to an ongoing investigation by European data protection authorities, including the Bavarian data protection authority in Germany (BayLDA), concerning Worldcoin’s handling of personal user data.

The announcement was made on June 4, 2024, following an initial order by Spanish authorities in March 2024 to stop data collection activities. The investigation by the BayLDA is expected to conclude soon, with a decision anticipated before the end of the year.

The investigation and regulatory actions are taking place in Spain and Germany, with implications for Worldcoin’s operations across Europe. The company has also faced regulatory scrutiny in other jurisdictions, including Hong Kong.

In response to the investigation and the regulatory scrutiny, Worldcoin has taken several steps to address concerns about its data practices. These include open-sourcing its biometric data system to enhance transparency, implementing more stringent controls to verify users’ ages, and providing users with the option to delete their iris codes securely. Additionally, Worldcoin has temporarily ceased its data processing operations in Spain as part of its agreement with the AEPD, pending the outcome of the ongoing European investigation.

Worldcoin’s operations involve collecting biometric data, including iris scans, to create a unique identity verification system linked to cryptocurrency incentives. This approach has raised significant privacy and data protection concerns among regulators worldwide, particularly regarding the justification for retaining sensitive biometric information. Despite these challenges, Worldcoin has reported substantial growth, reaching 10 million users and facilitating 70 million transactions by April 2024. The project has also expanded its technological infrastructure by launching a new blockchain network, World Chain, aimed at prioritizing human-centric applications and enhancing the utility of Web3 technologies. These developments occur alongside regulatory efforts to ensure that Worldcoin’s innovative practices comply with stringent data protection standards, reflecting the broader tensions between technological innovation and privacy rights in the digital age.

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