The Office of Data Protection has raised concerns about the Worldcoin project’s handling of personal data, stating that it does not follow the data protection principles outlined in section 25 of the relevant Act. The office has requested court intervention, warning that if action is not taken, the personal data of Kenyans gathered during the Worldcoin project will be deleted or altered.
Deputy Data Commissioner Oscar Otieno, in an affidavit, expressed dissatisfaction with the safety of Kenyan citizens’ data within the Worldcoin project. He stated that ongoing investigations are being conducted. The Worldcoin project, as described on its website, aims to create global economic access for everyone regardless of origin. It intends to establish a vast human identity and financial network.
Otieno noted that assessments of the Worldcoin project began in May 2022. During this process, operations were temporarily suspended for 60 days to verify the legality of data processing and the safeguards implemented by the project.
The commission believes that the respondents may tamper with, erase, modify, or further process personal data in violation of the Data Protection Act 2019, obstructing the ongoing investigation. Therefore, the commission seeks court-issued preservation orders. These orders are seen as crucial for aiding investigations and safeguarding the personal data obtained from Kenyans. The orders will also help determine whether the processing of this data aligns with the Act.
The commission’s court application requests a halt to further data collection from Kenyans. Despite the suspension and directives to cease processing personal data, the respondents continued such activities. It was only when the Interior Cabinet Secretary issued a public directive on August 2 that their operations were halted.