According to local news outlets, last Saturday, a Worldcoin warehouse was raided by the Nairobi police in the Kenyan capital, along with multi-agency officials.
The report said that machines and documents had been seized by the police and then sent for examination to the headquarters of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
The commissioner of the Office of Data Protection in Kenya, Immaculate Kassait, told the local media that Tools for Humanity, the parent company of Worldcoin, had not revealed its true intentions at the time of registering in the country.
While no statement was issued by the local authorities at the time of publication, a source with knowledge of the matter confirmed that the raids had been conducted.
The Kenyan government announced last Wednesday that they were suspending Worldcoin’s activities in the country.
According to the government, the legality of Worldcoin’s operations would be examined, along with the protection and safety of the data it had harvested and how it was to be used.
Sam Altman, the chief executive of OpenAI, founded Worldcoin in July this year. It requires users to scan their irises to prove they are humans.
This is accomplished through ‘Orb’, a piece of hardware, and the users are then given 25 WLD, which is the native token of the project.
According to the official website of Worldcoin, these Orbs can now be found in more than 300 locations around the globe and the total number of registered users has reached 2,200,000.
The data woes
The primary concerns of the authorities in Kenya are no different from the authorities in other areas where Worldcoin is operating.
These concerns are related to the data collected by the company when it scans the irises of the users and how it is used.
A spokesperson for Worldcoin said that the personal user data collected is not sold and will never be sold by the company.
As per the spokesperson, there is a robust privacy program in place and the company was designed for protecting individual privacy.
They further said that the company is compliant with the laws and regulations related to personal processing data in all countries where it operates.
The company further said that the Orb deletes any pictures it might capture during the process of World ID verification.
The legal frame of Worldcoin’s operations in Kenya was also questioned by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) in the country.
In addition, there have also been security problems associated with the process of scanning in Nairobi because it has led to massive gatherings.
A Worldcoin spokesperson said that in order to secure a World ID, tens of thousands of people had been standing in lines for more than two days.
Therefore, the company paused the verification services temporarily in order to deal with crowd volume and to ensure caution.
Worldcoin said that it was working on adapting its process. The spokesperson said that during this break, they would work on coming up with better measures for ensuring crowd control.