Kenya’s Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) has urged increased vigilance from the public as it continues to engage with WorldCoin, a cryptocurrency project founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, which launched last Monday to ensure compliance with the country’s laws.
The central aspect of the project is its World ID, touted as a global digital passport capable of proving uniqueness and humanness while selectively revealing credentials issued by other entities while maintaining anonymity. To obtain a World ID, individuals must undergo an in-person iris scan using an orb, a biometric imaging device. A unique World ID is generated upon successful authentication through the iris scan. WorldCoin has established over five Orb Centres in Kenya where people can have their irises scanned.
Additionally, the project offers a digital currency called Worldcoin token (WLD) that is freely distributed to individuals possessing the World ID and the World App. This token facilitates global payments, purchases, and transfers using digital assets and fiat-backed stablecoins.
The ODPC said it is aware that WorldCoin has been launched and is processing sensitive personal data in a manner that requires a demonstration of proper safeguards under the Data Protection Act, 2019.
“As the ODPC conducts its assessment of WorldCoin practices to ensure compliance with the law, Kenyans are urged to ensure that they receive proper information before disclosing any personal or sensitive data. Individuals are advised to thoroughly inquire about how their data will be used,” the office said in a press release.
Data Commissioner Immaculate Kassait said, “It is the responsibility of data controllers to ensure that personal data is processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act. Failure to do so not only puts individuals’ privacy at risk but also exposes an organization to legal and reputational consequences.”
According to the organization, WorldID is critical because it addresses two of the key considerations presented by the Age of AI: protecting against Sybil attacks and minimizing the spread of AI-generated misinformation.
The company says it has made available 1.5k Orbs spread across over 35 cities in 20-plus countries across five continents to ramp up the signing-up capacity globally. More than 2 million people have signed up for the identity during the two years beta phase.