Worldcoin has lost its documents and machines in Nairobi to Kenyan police and other authorities in a recent raid.
Authorities in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi have conducted a raid of the Worldcoin warehouse on Saturday. Kenyan police seized several documents and devices belonging to the crypto and blockchain company.
According to a local report, the police officers conducted the raid of Worldcoin’s offices along with multi-agency officials holding a search warrant. The report adds that the authorities left with several machines allegedly containing data the firm has collected so far. The seized data was delivered to Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters for analysis.
The report added that the raid was initiated by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC), Immaculate Kassait. According to Kassait, Worldcoin’s parent company, Tools for Humanity, was not honest about its true intentions when it registered the company.
Interestingly, CoinDesk reported that an ODPC representative said they had no knowledge of the raid.
The Kenyan government already suspended Worldcoin’s activities in the country. Last week, the Ministry of Interior officially halted the company’s operations following concerns surrounding data privacy. Authorities in several other countries, including Germany, the UK, and France, have all started investigations into Worldcoin.
Worldcoin Raid Happened Despite the Company’s Legality
Worldcoin is a blockchain company launched by Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI. The company pays free cryptocurrency to anyone willing to undergo its iris scans for verification. Following its launch, several thousand Kenyans have visited registration centers to partake in the scans and receive the crypto, worth about $49. Nonetheless, authorities have raised concerns about accessing and storing biometric data and also paying participants for the data collected. Authorities are also worried about all that data controlled by a private organization. Worldcoin’s aim is to create a platform for “proof of personhood” via iris biometrics.
After the suspension, Worldcoin said it would work with the government to control crowds at its center before resumption. It also assured that the data used was to build a global “identity and financial network” for public use and provide access despite individual backgrounds. According to the company’s website,“Worldcoin aims to establish universal access to the global economy regardless of country or background. It is designed to become the world’s largest human identity and financial network, giving ownership to everyone. All with the intention of welcoming every person on the planet and establishing a place for all of us to benefit in the age of AI.”
Last year, a German privacy watchdog launched an investigation into Worldcoin. The Bavarian State Office for Data Protection Supervision began to investigate Worldcoin due to concerns about the retention and processing of sensitive biometric data on a large scale.
According to the German regulator, collecting and processing sensitive data on a large scale has more than a few risks. The regulator, among other things, is worried about a lack of consent from the owner of data, for the application of said data.