Kenya suspends Worldcoin’s activities over safety and privacy concerns

The country’s Capital Markets Authority also cautioned citizens against dealing with the entity.

Kenya suspends Worldcoin’s activities over safety and privacy concerns
Assets:; Freepik; Worldcoin | Design by Samuel Ojo for Mariblock. 

The Kenyan Ministry of Interior and National Administration has directed that all activities of Worldcoin, the digital ID company, be suspended until the government has concluded investigations into their activities. 

Key details 

  • The cabinet secretary for the ministry, Kithure Kindiki, said that relevant agencies are investigating the security, authenticity and legality of  Worldcoin’s activities. 
  • Kindiki said the government was concerned with Worldcoin's activities, and agencies will probe how it intends to use the data it gathers. 
  • Per the release, anybody engaging with Worldcoin would face appropriate action, which was not specified. 

Key quote 

  • The release read: 
“The government has suspended forthwith, the activities of ‘World Coin’ and any other entity that may be similarly engaging the people of Kenya until relevant public agencies certify the absence of any risks to the general public whatsoever.” 

Quick facts 

The tilt  

  • Earlier this morning, the Kenyan cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Information, Communication and Digital Economy in Kenya, Eliud Owalo, said on national television that the government had been aware of Worldcoin’s activities since April. 
  • He added that within Kenya’s existing legal framework, Worldcoin has not contravened any of the provisions of the law and has been in correspondence with the office of the Data Protection Commissioner. 
  • He, however, admitted that there could be security and regulatory issues surrounding Worldcoin’s activities but not necessarily legal issues since Kenyan law permits Worldcoin to obtain data of individuals voluntarily. 
  •  Tech Cabal reported that Worldcoin is registered as a data processor by the office of the Data Protection Commissioner under its parent company’s name, Tools for Humanity. This signifies that Worldcoin has legal permission from Kenyan authorities to collect private data from Kenyans. 
  • Despite this, Kenyan authorities have issued warnings to protect citizens. Today, the country’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) cautioned Kenyans against dealing with the entity it tagged unregulated. 
The CMA said: “Worldcoin-related products, including crypto tokens, or their derivatives, are not investment products within the scope of the capital markets act and hence the regulatory purview of the CMA.”