Authorities have launched a probe right into a cryptocurrency firm working in Hong Kong that requires shoppers to endure iris scans for identification functions, elevating considerations over potential privateness violations.
The Workplace of the Privateness Commissioner for Private Knowledge (PCPD) performed raids on six premises related to Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency agency co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, a outstanding determine within the international synthetic intelligence sector. The regulator expressed apprehensions concerning the gathering of iris scans from customers, fearing that such knowledge may compromise people’ privateness.
The investigation follows related actions initiated by knowledge regulators in numerous jurisdictions, with some questioning the legality and moral implications of Worldcoin’s biometric knowledge assortment technique, the place customers are incentivized with cryptocurrency in alternate for iris scans.
Lo Dik-fan, a senior private knowledge officer on the PCPD, voiced considerations over the potential dangers to non-public knowledge privateness posed by Worldcoin’s operations in Hong Kong. Emphasizing the necessity to safeguard public privateness rights, Lo said, “The workplace is worried that the operation of Worldcoin in Hong Kong includes severe dangers to non-public knowledge privateness.”
Worldcoin boasts a person base of over 3.2 million globally and mandates iris knowledge assortment by means of a specialised scanner referred to as the Orb in return for World ID digital identification and complimentary cryptocurrency.
The PCPD’s investigation will scrutinize the legality of Worldcoin’s knowledge assortment and processing practices underneath the Private Knowledge (Privateness) Ordinance, specializing in person consent, the identities of the corporate’s management, and compliance with regulatory necessities.
Through the raids performed throughout Yau Ma Tei, Kwun Tong, Wan Chai, Cyberport, Central, and Causeway Bay, officers seized proof from areas reportedly utilized for iris scans of service customers.
Whereas customers acquired 25 Worldcoin tokens, valued at roughly HK$19.55 every, after present process iris scans, considerations have been raised globally concerning the corporate’s strategy to knowledge privateness and its potential exploitation for fraudulent actions.
Worldcoin’s institution of a number of premises in Hong Kong and abroad has drawn regulatory scrutiny, with abroad knowledge regulators in international locations reminiscent of Britain and Germany expressing reservations concerning the challenge’s privateness implications.
Francis Fong Po-kiu, honorary president of the Hong Kong Data Know-how Federation, highlighted the comparatively unusual use of iris recognition in comparison with different biometric identification strategies, reminiscent of fingerprints or facial recognition.
The PCPD underscored the significance of public vigilance when collaborating in initiatives involving delicate private data, urging people to judge the legality, goal, and safety measures of such schemes. Nonetheless, the regulator clarified that it lacks the authority to droop Worldcoin’s operations within the metropolis.
Efforts to succeed in Worldcoin for remark have been unsuccessful on the time of reporting.