Worldcoin not Safe for Kenyans: Data Protection Office Tells Court

August 15, 2023

The Office of Data Protection has moved to court seeking to stop Worldcoin from further collection of data from Kenyans.

According to the Data Protection Office, the handling of personal data within the Worldcoin project does not conform to the data protection principles outlined in section 25 of the Act.

In a submission in court, Deputy Data Commissioner Oscar Otieno says that after a thorough examination of the Worldcoin project’s activities within the country, he is convinced that it is not safe for Kenyan citizens. He further notes that further investigations are still ongoing.

Mr Otieno warns that if no action is taken, the personal data of Kenyans collected during the Worldcoin project will be subject to deletion and/or alteration.

“The Applicant is undertaking investigations in relation to Worldcoin operations in Kenya by the Respondents. The Worldcoin project, a matter of great public interest, is described by the Respondent on its website as a project ‘aimed at establishing universal access to the global economy regardless of country or background. It is designed to become the world’s largest human identity and financial network, giving ownership to everyone,” reads court papers.

The affidavit adds: “The applicant believes that the respondent is likely to tamper with, erase, modify or further process the personal the personal data contrary to the Data Protection Act 2019 thereby frustrating the investigation currently being conducted by the applicant.”

The commission is pursuing preservation orders through the court, contending that these orders would aid ongoing investigations and allow for the retention of personal data acquired from Kenyans.

These orders, the commission notes, will streamline the ongoing investigations, aimed at determining whether the processing of personal data deviates from the provisions of the Act.

“Despite the suspension and directive to cease processing of personal data, the respondents continued to process the said personal data. It took the public directive by the CS Interior to halt their operations on August 2,” says Deputy Data Commissioner Oscar Otieno.

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