June 24, 2024
Latest Cryptocurrency News

Hong Kong Halts Worldcoin Project for Privacy Violations

Hong Kong’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) has wrapped up its investigation into the controversial Worldcoin project, finding that the initiative’s practices violated the city’s Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO).

Enforcement Notice Issued to Worldcoin

Privacy Commissioner Ada Chung Lai-ling issued an enforcement notice on May 22, directing Worldcoin to immediately cease all operations in Hong Kong. This involves the scanning and collection of iris and facial images from the public using iris scanning devices.

Inquiry Findings

The PCPD launched its inquiry in January 2024. The inquiry aimed to assess whether Worldcoin’s identity verification methods jeopardized personal data privacy and contravened PDPO regulations. Throughout the investigation, the PCPD conducted 10 covert visits at six premises associated with the Worldcoin project.

Privacy Violations Uncovered

The PCPD determined that collecting facial images was redundant for verifying participants’ humanness, as iris scanning device operators could already perform this verification in person.

Additionally, Worldcoin failed to provide adequate information to participants, particularly those who did not speak English, hindering informed consent.

According to the PCPD, the operators “did not offer any explanation or confirmed the participants’ understanding of the aforesaid documents.” Moreover, they did not inform participants of “the possible risks pertaining to their disclosure of biometric data” or answer their questions.

Unjustified Data Retention

The PCPD ruled that Worldcoin’s retention of sensitive biometric data, including face and iris images, for up to 10 years solely for AI model training purposes was unjustified.

Worldcoin Faces Global Regulatory Scrutiny

Furthermore, Worldcoin’s operations have attracted regulatory attention worldwide due to privacy concerns. In addition to the enforcement action in Hong Kong, services were suspended in Kenya, and iris scans were paused in India. Since its announcement in 2021, the project garnered over two million sign-ups before its official launch in July 2023.

Worldcoin has yet to respond to the PCPD’s findings and enforcement notice.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Disclosure Statement: Miami Crypto does not take any external funding, or support to bring crypto news to the readers. We do not have any conflicts of interest while writing news stories on Miami Crypto.

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