Concerns about Worldcoin’s data collection methods, particularly its use of iris scans to verify users’ identities, have been raised by authorities in the United Kingdom and France. The Bavarian State Office for Data Protection Supervision (BayLDA) initiated an investigation into Worldcoin’s human identity verification project due to worries about the handling of biometric data.
According to a Reuters report on July 31, 2023, the German data watchdog began looking into Worldcoin’s activities in November 2022. The project, which aims to differentiate real users from bots through retinal scans for identity verification, had garnered over 2 million sign-ups before launching its token in July.
BayLDA was particularly concerned about the use of retinal scan data, with President Michael Will stating that the technologies employed by Worldcoin were not thoroughly tested or established for secure financial data transfers, posing potential risks for users.
Worldcoin’s data collection practices have also been called into question by the French National Commission on Informatics and Liberty. Similarly, the Information Commissioner’s Office in the United Kingdom expressed similar concerns regarding the project.
Tools For Humanity, the company behind Worldcoin, has a subsidiary in Germany, but the project has attracted interest from users in various countries.
Since the token’s launch in July, Worldcoin co-founder Sam Altman reported that a new person was being verified every 8 seconds through iris scans worldwide. Prominent figures in the crypto space, including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Block CEO Jack Dorsey, have already shared their perspectives on the project, and many crypto users have pointed out potential benefits, such as assisting those affected by the collapses of Three Arrows Capital and FTX.