Argentina Becomes Latest Country to Conduct Probe Into Iris-Scanning Worldcoin’s Privacy Issues

Source: Pixabay / Rudy and Peter

Argentina has joined the list of jurisdictions investigating the recently launched AI-meets-crypto project Worldcoin and its privacy practices that stirred endless controversies.

The Argentinian Agency for Access to Public Information (AAIP) published a notice on Aug. 8, which will conduct an investigation into the processing of personal data carried out by the Worldcoin Foundation in Argentina.

“The investigation will carefully analyze the processes and practices in relation to the collection, storage and use of personal data, to identify possible effects on the rights recognized by the Law.”

The Argentinian agency is studying Worldcoin over its collection, storage and use of customer data to ensure it meets with security and privacy regulations.

Worldcoin project from OpenAI founder Sam Altman uses orbs to scan people’s eyes in exchange for a digital ID and possibly some cryptocurrency, depending on the country they live.

On Aug. 2, Kenya became the first country to suspend Worldcoin’s activities and its government launched a multi-agency investigation into the project’s practices.

Citizens Have the Right

The agency emphasized that their citizens have the right whenever they provide personal data, to have “clear and accessible information,” especially with regard to sensitive data, such as biometric data. 

“The AAIP has channels enabled to make complaints regarding violations of the rights of access, rectification and deletion of personal data,” the release said.

The case has gained “public notoriety in recent weeks” because of scanning the irises of numerous Argentinians in exchange for economic compensation in different parts of the country including provisions of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Mendoza and Black river.

Per the notice, crypto project like Worldcoin must first register with the AAIP, provide info about the project’s data processing policy, and indicate what they require sensitive data for and what is the processing time.

“Cases like this make visible the need to strengthen the current legal framework regarding the Protection of Personal Data, as has been raised on repeated occasions and in various national and international forums by the AAIP.”

Worldcoin Faces Increased Scrutiny

The project gained traction among users globally, with more than 2 million accounts registered within moments following the launch.

The French National Commission on Informatics and Liberty as well as Germany’s Bavarian State Office for Data Protection Supervision have opened inquiries into the data collection practices by Worldcoin. The UK’s Information Commissions Office has also announced a probe into the project.

Furthermore, Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, recently raised concerns stressing that the privacy and moral concerns expressed about the project could be legitimate, however, the project’s proof of personhood might bring major risks if not solved.

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