Portugal Orders Worldcoin to Cease Biometric Data Collection 


Worldcoin, the project known for its “proof of personhood” concept where individuals receive cryptocurrency tokens after having their irises scanned to verify their humanity, has faced a setback in Europe. A regulator in Portugal has directed the project to halt its biometric data collection efforts.

According to a report from Reuters, the Portugal data regulator, CNPD, has instructed Worldcoin to suspend its collection of personal data for 90 days. This directive follows a similar ban imposed on the project in Spain last month. The CNPD cited a high risk to citizens’ data protection rights as the rationale for urgent intervention to prevent potential harm. The report notes that over 300,000 individuals in Portugal have provided their biometric data to Worldcoin.

In response to the regulatory action, Tools for Humanity, the lead software contributor to the Worldcoin project, emphasized that the initiative adheres to all relevant laws and regulations governing the collection and transfer of biometric data. Jannick Preiwisch, the data protection officer at Worldcoin Foundation, reiterated the project’s commitment to complying with data protection authorities and expressed willingness to address any reported concerns, including those related to underage sign-ups in Portugal.

In an attempt to address privacy concerns and enhance user control over personal data, Worldcoin recently introduced “Personal Custody,” a new process that eliminates the storage and encryption of individuals’ biometric data. Previously, users had the option to allow Worldcoin to store their data. Tiago Sada, an executive at Tools for Humanity, highlighted that the updated approach grants users greater autonomy over their data, offering reassurance by reducing the need to place trust in external entities.

Worldcoin’s unique model rewards individuals with cryptocurrency tokens, known as WLD tokens, upon undergoing iris scanning to establish a World ID. According to the project’s website, Worldcoin has garnered participation from over 4.5 million individuals across 120 countries.

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