The Kenyan government has set up a 17-member committee to investigate the operations of American-based cryptocurrency firm Worldcoin, due to its collection of biometric data not satisfying Kenya’s data privacy laws of the country.
The process requires a user to give his iris scans in exchange for a digital ID known as global ID and get free Worldcoin tokens as part of plans to create a new identity and financial network, and the Kenyan government saw this as a security risk.
Joint Ad-hoc Committee Investigation In Kenya
Kenya’s National Assembly Speaker Rt Hon. (Dr.) Moses Wetang’ula, has ordered the Joint Ad Hoc Committee to investigate the activities of Worldcoin and report back to the House within 42 days.
The Joint Ad-hoc Committee’s investigations on Worldcoin kicked off on Monday after the movement was set afoot following a meeting to outline its Terms of Reference, and to determine potential experts and witnesses to appear before the legislators during its investigation.
Gabriel Tongoyo, head of the 17-member committee, stated that the potential experts and witnesses to appear before the legislators will include The Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury, The National Intelligence Service (NIS), the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), and the Ministry of Health.
These experts and witnesses will have to enlighten the legislators on the relationship between Worldcoin and crypto trading in Kenya, and the potential health hazards resulting from the reported iris scans.
Also, the office of the Attorney General, the Registrar of Companies, and the Data Commissioner are expected to answer MP Gabriel Tongoyo’s questions on the legal framework of the operations of Worldcoin in Kenya. This is to ensure that due diligence was taken in the registration process of Worldcoin in Kenya.
The committee has been given this very limited time to provide all the answers needed by the Legislators, as local media have reported that more than 350,000 Kenyans have signed up for Worldcoin in exchange for a free $49 worth of WLD tokens valued at 7,000 Kenyan shillings before the operation was suspended.
Worldcoin Fails to Meet Privacy Laws
Worldcoin’s collection of biometrics data in exchange for its tokens reportedly failed to meet regulatory requirements in Kenya due to the requirement that disclosure of personal information should only be done in critical circumstances.
Immaculate Kassait, the Data Commissioner for Kenya stated that Worldcoin had not been upfront about its objectives during the registration process.
The Kenyan Capital Markets Authority also indicated that Worldcoin’s activities in the country were carried out without regulatory supervision, and this led to skepticism among the citizens in sharing their data with Worldcoin.
Due to this, the Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki gave the order to suspend every operation of Worldcoin in the country because of security concerns. Eliud Owalo, the digital counterpart of Kithure Kindiki, has also shared a few warnings about Worldcoin.
According to recent reports, a raid on Worldcoin’s facility in Nairobi was carried out two weeks ago by the Kenyan police, leading to the seizure of documents and equipment from the facility for the purpose of accessing the data that has been collected by Worldcoin so that proper investigations can be conducted.
However, Worldcoin stated that the company was willing to work with the authorities and outlined how it would restart its operations following the implementation of crowd-control measures.