March 27, 2024
Policy & Regulation

Portugal Restricts Worldcoin’s Biometric Data Collection

The National Data Protection Commission (CNPD) of Portugal has announced a temporary ban on Worldcoin’s collecting of biometric data via its Orb devices in the country. The ruling, which aims to protect citizens’ rights, notably those of minors, will take effect immediately and will last until the conclusion of an ongoing inquiry that began on March 8.

Concerns Over Biometric Data Collection

Worldcoin, known for its Orb devices, which scan people’s irises in exchange for digital IDs and bitcoin, has come under fire from Portuguese authorities. With over 4.5 million users worldwide, including 300,000 in Portugal, the company’s activities came under scrutiny following claims of data gathering from children without valid authorization.

CNPD President Paula Meira Lourenço emphasized the necessity of the measure to safeguard fundamental rights, especially those of minors. The decision was prompted by numerous reports indicating potential GDPR violations and unauthorized data collection from minors.

Global Regulatory Challenges

This development follows a series of regulatory hurdles faced by Worldcoin worldwide. Despite assurances of lawful operation, the Kenyan government upheld its ban on the project, citing concerns over privacy and regulatory pressure from the United States. Similarly, legal actions in Spain demanded a cessation of activities due to alleged consent withdrawal issues and unauthorized data collection from minors.

In response to mounting regulatory challenges, Worldcoin announced plans to open-source its software and introduce a “personal custody” feature to enhance user data control. However, the CNPD’s decision underscores the urgency for Worldcoin to address privacy concerns and ensure compliance with legal standards across jurisdictions.

As the investigation unfolds, Worldcoin faces increasing pressure to rectify privacy issues and regain trust among regulators and users alike.

Image by rawpixel.com on Freepik

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