Worldcoin Customers at Risk of Commercial Appropriation, says AG Muturi

August 31, 2023

Data mined from Kenyans through the contentious Worldcoin cryptocurrency project is at risk, MPs heard Wednesday.

While addressing the Parliament’s Ad hoc Committee investigating the crypto project, Attorney General Justin Muturi said there are no specific laws at present to govern the utilization of an individual’s image rights.

The committee also heard that Worldocin operators capitalized on legal loopholes to engage in data mining activities targeting Kenyan citizens.

“A person may fall victim to commercial appropriation of their image rights because there are no clear-cut legal remedies at their disposal,” said AG Muturi through Principal State Counsel Karen Ndegwa.

Due to this gap in regulations, Ms Ndegwa pointed out that Kenyans who had their data collected might not have assurance regarding its security

“A person’s image rights are protected under the constitutional right to privacy and property under Article 28 and Article 40 respectively,” she noted.

The Attorney General’s office also informed the committee that Worldcoin operated in the country illegally.

“Chair, from the information that we have, the name Worldcoin does not appear in the BRS database as a registered business company…this is contrary to the law which provides that all foreign companies must obtain registration,” said Muturi.

He also mentioned that Tools for Humanity, a German-based company that is an affiliate of Worldcoin, is not registered as a business company locally.

The AG said Tools for Humanity (Germany) and Tools for Humanity (US) were issued certificates by the Data Commissioner to function as data processors. The applications for these certificates were submitted on August 22, 2022.

It was also revealed that only the Sales Marketing Company, another subsidiary, was incorporated as a private limited company in 2013. The Company, AG Muturi explained, is registered under Kevin Odumbe who is a 100 percent shareholder with its offices located at LR 209/37 Langata/Kitengela Road.

Meanwhile, the National Computer Cybercrimes Coordinating Committee (NC4) has cautioned that Worldcoin operations have the potential to adversely affect both the economy and national security.

Colonel James Kimuyu, the director of NC4, told the committee that the impact can vary based on factors such as the regulatory landscape, the rate of adoption, advancements in technology, and public sentiment.

He also mentioned that Worldcoin’s operations could have implications on various aspects, including the potential to influence monetary policy and control, jeopardize the cybersecurity of vital national infrastructure, raise concerns regarding privacy and security, facilitate cybercrime, fraudulent activities, scams, and even contribute to financing terrorism, among other potential consequences.

“National security concerns surrounding a global digital currency like Worldcoin can be significant due to its potential impact on a country’s economic, financial sovereignty,” said Dr Kimuyu.

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