Kenya suspends Worldcoin data collection programme amid safety concerns

Wednesday August 02 2023
kicc wld

People parade long queues at KICC in Nairobi, Kenya, to be registered as members of the new Worldcoin cryptocurrency on August 1, 2023. PHOTO | WILFRED NYANGARESI | NMG


The Kenyan government has suspended the ongoing collection of personal data from its citizens by Worldcoin until all security concerns are addressed.

Announcing the suspension on Wednesday morning, Interior and Administration of National Government Cabinet Secretary (CS) Prof Kithure Kindiki said the public safety and integrity of financial transactions involving such a large number of citizens must be satisfactorily assured in advance.

"The government has suspended forthwith, activities of ‘WORLD COIN’ and any other entity that may be similarly engaging the people of Kenya until relevant state agencies certify the absence of any risks to the general public whatsoever," part of the statement reads.

Read: How safe is sensitive data collected by Worldcoin for free tokens?

“The Government is concerned by the ongoing activities of an organisation calling itself ‘WORLD COIN’ which is involved in the registration of citizens through collection of eyeball/iris data.”

This comes a day after thousands of Kenyans turned up at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre to be registered in the world's AI cryptocurrency.


Prof Kindiki said that appropriate action would be taken against anyone who ignores the suspension.

The CS added that the collection of data by orb systems, which scan a person's iris to determine if they are human, could put the data at risk.

"Relevant security, financial services and data protection agencies have commenced inquiries and investigations to establish the authenticity and legality of the aforesaid activities."

Read: Global synergy needed to control crypto assets

On Tuesday, police officers were forced to suspend the Worldcoin registration process at the KICC, citing security concerns.

Upon registration, a new member is rewarded with a token, which is equivalent to Ksh7,000 ($49) but in terms of coins, deposited in the Worldcoin wallet.