Sam Altman’s Worldcoin ordered to stop collecting data in Spain

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The Spanish Agency for the Protection of Data (AEPD) ordered Worldcoin to stop collecting and processing data in Spain on March 6, issuing a temporary order banning operations for a period of three months. 

Worldcoin is a product/service developed by Tools for Humanity, a firm founded by OpenAI co-founder and CEO Sam Altman. Its mission, according to the Worldcoin white paper, is to create a “globally inclusive identity and financial network, owned by the majority of humanity” with the stated goal of creating “a potential path to AI-funded UBI (universal basic income).

The AEPD order claims the agency is investigating complaints that users in Spain aren’t able to withdraw consent and that Worldcoin has allegedly collected data from minors.

Per a translation via Microsoft:

“The AEPD, which demands the cessation of the collection and processing of special categories of personal data as well as the blocking of those already collected, has received several complaints denouncing, among other aspects, insufficient information, the collection of data from minors or that the withdrawal of consent is not allowed.”

The Spanish authorities’ injunction comes just a little over a month after Hong Kong’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) conducted an investigation into Worldcoin.

As Cointelegraph reported, PCPD executed search warrants on Worldcoin offices in Hong Kong in January citing concerns over data privacy.

The controversy surrounding Worldcoin stems from its use of biometric scanning devices called orbs. Worldcoin users sign up for the service by downloading an app. They’re then directed to the nearest facility containing an “orb” where they must submit to have their eye scanned. As human irises are unique to each individual, this method of biometric verification is generally considered more accurate than fingerprinting and other common identification techniques.

Once verified, user identities are tied to their unique biometric data where it can be verified independently using Worldcoin’s services. Those who sign up for the service and activate their accounts in the WorldApp application are given a payment in Worldcoin’s WLD token.

Related: Worldcoin soars 140% in a week as wallet app hits 1M daily users

Source: @Worldcoin on X.

According to Tools for Humanity, Worldcoin has four million verified users as of March 5, 2024.