Home Editor's Pick Worldcoin Ordered to Halt Data Collection in Portugal Amid Privacy Concerns

Worldcoin Ordered to Halt Data Collection in Portugal Amid Privacy Concerns

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The National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD), Portugal’s data protection authority, has ordered the Worldcoin Foundation, the organization behind the development of blockchain project Worldcoin (WLD), to stop collecting biometric data through the “Orb” device in the country for 90 days.

Following a recent crackdown by the Spain authority, the project faces a new regulatory challenge in Portugal.

Issued during a plenary meeting last March, the new order is part of the authority’s ongoing investigation into Worldcoin and aimed at safeguarding the rights of citizens, especially minors, said the CNPD in a press release.

Worldcoin is Intrusive

According to the CNPD, the decision was made in response to dozens of complaints about the collection of data from minors without parental consent. The decision is a measure that will remain in place until the investigation is complete.

More than 300,000 people in Portugal have already provided their biometric data to Worldcoin. The authority said that it was concerned about the lack of transparency about how the data is being used and the impossibility of deleting the data or revoking consent.

The risks associated with the processing of biometric data especially from minors are also among the CNPD’s major concerns. The agency said that it would issue a final decision in due course.

Some data scientists have raised concerns over iris scanning, arguing that collecting this form of biometric data might be riskier than collecting fingerprints due to the potentially sensitive data it contains.

Worldcoin’s reliance on iris scanning for user identification has become a major hurdle in its global expansion plans. Suspicions of potential privacy violations have triggered investigations in numerous countries, including Kenya, India, Brazil, France, Germany, England, Hong Kong, and Spain.

Portugal is the latest country that has ordered a ban on Worldcoin. Earlier this month, the project was hit by Spain’s privacy watchdog for a similar reason. The Spanish government’s data protection agency (AEPD) requested Worldcoin to halt data collection and processing in the country for three months as concerns over data privacy were mounting.

Worldcoin Allows Users to Control Data

Worldcoin uses blockchain technology to create a global digital identification system called World ID. This system, similar to a digital passport, uses a device named “Orb” to scan a user’s iris. Previously, after being scanned, the user’s data was kept on Worldcoin’s data storage and would be eliminated according to a pre-set schedule. Users didn’t have control over the data.

In a great effort to ensure data security and to deal with increased regulatory crackdowns, Worldcoin unveiled last week a new feature called “Personal Custody” designed to let World ID users have control over their data, including storage and biometric encryption.

The project said that the “Personal Custody” feature aims to empower users to take control of their biometric data. Data collected by the Orb during World ID verification (iris scanning) is stored directly on the user’s device. This allows users to decide how the data is processed, including the option to delete it.

“For Worldcoin, giving you control over your data flow with Personal Custody is a significant step towards solidifying the project’s user-centric architecture and building an even more robust and secure World ID network,” said Worldcoin in a blog post.

With the latest feature, Worldcoin expects to expand growth, while strengthening the trust level of current users and attracting more potential unregistered customers. In addition to “Personal Custody”, to increase user peace of mind, the project also publicly discloses on GitHub details of the core software components integrated into the Orb device.

The price of the WLD token often swings in response to news about OpenAI. After news about Elon Musk’s lawsuit against OpenAI and CEO Sam Altman last month, WLD was down 5% and moved sideways. At the time of writing, WLD is trading at around $8.7, down 1.7% in the last 24 hours, per CoinGecko’s data.

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