Worldcoin users queue up for iris scans

French watchdog queries Worldcoin’s use of biometric data as legitimate.

France’s privacy watchdog CNIL said on Friday it is aware of ChatGPT-founder Sam Altman’s Worldcoin project and that the legality of its biometric data collection “seems questionable”.

Worldcoin, which launched on Monday, requires users to provide their iris scans in exchange for a digital ID and in certain countries free cryptocurrency. Its website says it has signed up 2.1 million people, mostly in a trial over the last two years.

A gleaming, spherical “orb” from Worldcoin has set up sign-up stations across the globe where people may have their faces scanned.

This Monday, the British data regulator announced that it would research Worldcoin after its launch.

In response to a Reuters inquiry on Worldcoin, the French watchdog, CNIL, stated that “The legality of this collection seems questionable, as do the conditions for storing biometric data.”
The Bavarian state authority in Germany has jurisdiction, according to the CNIL’s email answer to Reuters, which stated that it had launched inquiries. Since then, the inquiry has been being carried out by the Bavarian authority with assistance from the CNIL, the watchdog noted.

The Worldcoin Foundation stated in an email that Worldcoin was “designed to protect individual privacy and has built a robust privacy program” and is dedicated to making sure it complies with legal obligations.

A Cayman Islands-based organization called the Worldcoin Foundation defines itself as a “steward of the Worldcoin protocol.”

“The Worldcoin Foundation complies with all laws and regulations governing the processing of personal data in the markets where Worldcoin is available,” the statement read.

According to the Worldcoin Foundation, the Bavarian State Office for Data Protection Supervision is in charge of overseeing the project in the European Union.

“The project will continue to cooperate with governing bodies on requests for more information about its privacy and data protection practices,” it was stated.


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