A parliamentary committee in Kenya has revealed that Kenyans led the world in the number of participants in the controversial decentralized digital identity project, Worldcoin. The project, which uses iris scans to create unique digital identities, has been criticized for privacy concerns.
- The committee said that over 350,000 Kenyans had signed up for Worldcoin within a week of its launch in July 2023, making up to 25% of the global registered data.
- David Njoga, Kenya’s head of cybersecurity, policy, and standards, also disclosed that Worldcoin’s entry into Kenya did not follow due and legal procedures.
- He claimed the parent company, Tools For Humanity, disguised itself as a research entity before transitioning to data processing.
- Another contradiction about the project was the storage location of the collected data.
- Immaculate Kassiat, Kenya’s data protection commissioner, said the data is stored in the country. Njoga, on the other hand, claims Amazon Web services keep it in the United States.
- The project’s developers have said that they are committed to protecting user privacy, but the committee has called for further safeguards to be put in place.
- The committee’s report will be released in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the future of Worldcoin in Kenya remains uncertain.
“The rate Worldoin was being adopted just like other cryptocurrencies is not only disturbing but alarming because 350,000 people in one week are quite high, contributing 25% of their customers,” Njoga said.
- Worldcoin’s eye-scanning cryptocurrency project was scrutinized after thousands of Kenyans rushed to sign up to earn free tokens worth around $50.
- After Kenyans rushed to sign up for Worldcoin in droves, authorities issued several warnings, cautioning them to understand how their data would be used before joining.
- A few weeks later, the Kenyan Ministry of Interior and National Administration ordered a suspension of all Worldcoin activities in Kenya while the government investigate the matter.