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Worldcoin resumes operations in Kenya after privacy probe ends



Worldcoin Kenya operations resumes after probe

Worldcoin the cryptocurrency startup co-founded by OpenAI’s Sam Altman, has received approval to resume its iris-scanning and other operations in Kenya following the conclusion of a year-long government investigation into privacy concerns.

Kenya was among the initial countries where Worldcoin launched its iris-scanning initiative, designed as the foundation for a new identity and cryptocurrency system.

However, operations were halted nearly a year ago after the program encountered regulatory issues shortly after its debut.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in Kenya issued a letter on June 14 to Worldcoin’s legal team, confirming that the investigation has been “closed with no further police action.”

Nonetheless, the DCI advised the startup to officially register the business, acquire necessary licenses, and vet its vendors to ensure compliant operations moving forward.

This development concludes nearly a year of suspension and scrutiny of Worldcoin’s activities in Kenya.

The government had initially suspended Worldcoin’s enrollment in July last year, citing concerns about the “authenticity and legality” of its security, financial services, and data protection practices.

Additionally, a parliamentary committee formed after the suspension had recommended shutting down Worldcoin Kenya operations operations entirely, citing violations of regulations on data protection, consumer protection, and cybercrimes.

The committee also noted that Worldcoin and its parent company, Tools for Humanity, were not registered businesses in Kenya and lacked approval from the ICT regulator to use their iris-scanning devices, known as Orbs.

The impact of the parliamentary committee’s shut-down recommendation on future operations remains uncertain.

“We are grateful for the DCI’s fair investigation and for the Director of Public Prosecutions’ determination to close the matter,” said Thomas Scott, Chief Legal Officer of Tools for Humanity.

“This welcome result is, however, not an end but a beginning. We will continue working with the Government of Kenya and others, and we hope to resume World ID registration across the country soon.

“For today, we are just pleased to return our focus to advancing Worldcoin’s mission: creating opportunities for people in Kenya and elsewhere to participate in the global economy.”

Worldcoin and Tools for Humanity still face several investigations in other countries.

In Europe, Germany’s data protection authority in Bavaria is currently investigating the company, with a decision expected as early as next month.

In Spain, Worldcoin has paused operations pending the outcome of the Bavarian investigation. Portugal’s DPA is focusing on the company’s U.S. entity, conducting a separate investigation. Italy has issued a warning against any Worldcoin launch.

The Worldcoin case highlights the challenges of regulating new technologies and the need for jurisdictions to adapt quickly to such innovations.

While Kenya’s government committee called for disabling Worldcoin’s physical and virtual presence until proper regulations for virtual assets are established, the country has started developing a regulatory framework for virtual asset usage, aiming to better evaluate companies like Worldcoin.

Lawrence Agbo, a tech journalist for over four years, excels in crafting SEO-driven content that boosts business success. He also serves as an AI tutor, sharing his knowledge to educate others. His work has been cited on Wikipedia and various online media platforms.