The Kenyan authorities have issued a temporary prohibition on the iris scanning activities conducted by Worldcoin. The decision is grounded in worries about the privacy and security of citizens. Worldcoin, an initiative founded by Sam Altman, aims to establish a unique type of identification called a World ID, which is immune to theft or replication. This innovative identification could potentially serve as a substitute for passwords. Worldcoin employs “orbs” to scan an individual’s iris in order to generate this distinctive ID.
Worldcoin has additionally indicated that their worldwide identification approach could serve the purpose of distinguishing human individuals. The company holds the belief that as AI advances, distinguishing between humans and machines might become exceedingly challenging, and the certainty provided by iris scans would offer a conclusive solution.
In several Kenyan urban centers, tens of thousands of individuals have queued for extended periods, awaiting iris scans from Worldcoin’s orbs. The considerable interest in these scans can be attributed to the company’s offer of a cryptocurrency valued at around $50 to those who undergo the scanning process. This offer holds particular significance in Kenya, where the average monthly income is approximately $170.
The Kenyan government remains cautious about Worldcoin’s underlying motives in relation to citizens’ personal data. An ongoing inquiry is being conducted to assess the level of data security and to gain a precise understanding of its intended utilization.
Frequently, digital information is vended to specialized marketing firms, which raises concerns for the Kenyan authorities. The lack of awareness among many individuals about the purpose of the iris scans is another cause for concern. These individuals assert that they were not provided with an elucidation of the storage and usage of their data, nor were they informed of the rationale behind the scanning process. Despite being the dominant economy in East Africa, Kenya grapples with rising living costs, leaving a significant portion of the population in search of additional financial resources.
Worldcoin is optimistic about proceeding with the scans and making advancements once the government’s investigation reaches its conclusion.