HomeNEWSHong Kong regulator orders Worldcoin to stop operation

Hong Kong regulator orders Worldcoin to stop operation


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The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) has ordered Worldcoin to stop its operations in Hong Kong. The commission disclosed the development on Wednesday after concluding its investigation of the project. 

In the statement, the PCPD ruled that Worldcoin with its operations in Hong Kong has violated its Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO). More so, in the notice, the Privacy Commissioner Ada Chung Lai-ling issued an enforcement notice to Worldcoin, mandating that it stop scanning and collecting Iris of people in the region. 

Also, the commissioner added that the project should stop collecting facial images of the public through iris-scanning machines. More so, the PCPD stated that scanning and collecting the face images of people is an unnecessary step for registering with Worldcoin.

Additionally, the commission argued that since the personnel are capable of verifying the humanness of persons at the registration center the use of iris scanning devices is not needed. Also, the PCPD added that Worldcoin failed to provide adequate information on why iris scanning is important. With that, the commission stated that participants in Hong Kong cannot make informed decisions and give authentic consent. 

Hong Kong Regulator Skeptical About Users’ Privacy While Registering With Worldcoin

Likewise, the commission after concluding its investigation bemoaned how Worldcoin failed to provide its privacy notice in Chinese. Consequently, the PCPD stated that the unavailability of the privacy notice in Chinese prevented non-English-speaking participants from understanding the policies, practices, terms, and conditions of the project. 

According to the PCPD, the failure of Worldcoin to fully disclose the risk relating to the exposure of users’ biometric data is a violation of its data protection regulation. The PCPD established that Worldcoin failed to justify the retention of sensitive biometric data like face and iris images for about 10 years solely for AI model training.

Recall that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data commenced its investigation on Worldcoin in January 2024. As revealed, the investigation is targeted at examining if the identity verification procedures pose any risks to the personal data privacy of citizens of Hong Kong and if they also violate the regulation of the PCPD. 

As part of its investigations, the commissions made 10 visits to the six registration points of Worldcoin between December 2023 to January 2024. So far, more than 8,302 individuals in Hong Kong have scanned their faces and irises for Worldcoin verification.  

Away from Hong Kong, Worldcoin has attracted unwanted controversies as numerous regulators are concerned about its privacy policies. Hong Kong is following the footsteps of Kenya and India which have banned the scanning of iris within their jurisdictions. 

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David Idowu
David Idowu
David Idowu is a crypto reporter and trader with wealthy years of experience. He believes that blockchain technology has numerous opportunities that are begging for proper utilization. Away from work, David is either reading about World Politics, History or Tech Innovations.

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