French Privacy Regulator Investigates Worldcoin

French Privacy Regulator Investigates Worldcoin

In the wake of Worldcoin's recent launch, the project's biometric data collection process has come under the scrutiny of France's privacy watchdog, CNIL.

The innovative crypto project, led by ChatGPT-founder Sam Altman, requires users to provide iris scans in exchange for a unique digital ID and, in certain countries, free cryptocurrency. According to a breaking report from Reuters, CNIL has expressed concerns over the legality of this process, particularly the conditions for storing biometric data. The crypto firm had also been recently under the eye of UK's data watchdogs, a few weeks after it disclosed collaboration with Auth0 in Berlin.

Worldcoin's Approach to User Identity: A Double-Edged Sword?

Worldcoin, which boasts 2.1 million users predominantly from a two-year trial period, operates a global network of 'orbs,' shiny spherical devices capable of scanning users' irises. Despite this novel approach to establishing user identity, or "proof of personhood," the project's method has been perceived as questionable, leading to an investigation by Britain's data regulator this week.

CNIL, in response to a Reuters query on Worldcoin, stated that

"The legality of this collection seems questionable, as do the conditions for storing biometric data."

Further, CNIL's investigations indicated that jurisdiction over the project lies with the Bavarian state authority in Germany, now conducting the investigation with CNIL's support.

Worldcoin Foundation's Stance on Privacy Concerns

In response to these legal concerns, the Worldcoin Foundation, a Cayman Islands-based entity and self-proclaimed "steward of the Worldcoin protocol," maintains that its project is designed to protect individual privacy. The foundation also claims to have built a robust privacy program and is committed to meeting regulatory requirements.

"The Worldcoin Foundation complies with all laws and regulations governing the processing of personal data in the markets where Worldcoin is available," the foundation said in an email.

Notably, the regulator sspecified that the project is supervised in the European Union by the Bavarian State Office for Data Protection Supervision and will continue to cooperate with governing bodies on requests for more information about its privacy and data protection practices.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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