Government suspends registration of Worldcoin

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki.[Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The Government has suspended the registration of Worldcoin, pending an assessment on its risks.

 In a statement on Wednesday, August 2, the Ministry of Interior said it is suspending all activities until concerned government agencies ascertain that the app is free of any risks.

 “The Government has suspended forthwith, activities of ‘Worldcoin’ and any other entity that may be similarly engaging Kenyans until relevant public agencies certify the absence of any risks to the general public whatsoever,” said Interior Cabinet Secretary Kindiki Kithure.

 Additionally, action will be taken on anyone found engaging members of the public in Wolrdcoin activities.

 In an interview with NTV on Wednesday morning, ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo said the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) will soon be releasing a comprehensive statement on the concerns around Worldcoin cryptocurrency craze.

 “As far as the Data Act 2019 is concerned, they (Worldcoin) are acting within the law. The ODPC got wind of this, wrote to the entity and they have had several meetings. We are going to approach this issue from a multifaceted approach,” said Owalo.

 Yesterday, authorities dispersed a crowd of people who had lined up to register for the cryptocurrency project at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) in Nairobi.

 Officials involved cited security concerns as the reason for stopping the exercise that has been going on for a few days.

 Before its suspension, the ODPC had warned Kenyans against associating themselves with the app, advising them to first inquire how the data harvested will be used.

 The elephant in the room regarding the registration of Wordcoin is the compulsory scanning of eyeballs, in order to confirm the humanity of whoever is registering.

 Once the scanning is done through special machines known as Orbs, a virtual human identity otherwise known as the World ID is created.

 This project has become popular amongst many Kenyan citizens due to the tokens amounting to Sh7,700 awarded to a registered member.

 The craze has seen Kenyans drag their families into registering for the project, an activity which has now been suspended by the government.