Hong Kong Orders Worldcoin to Halt Operations
Main page News, Cryptocurrency, Hong Kong
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23 May

After conducting an investigation, Hong Kong's Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) has determined that the operations of the Worldcoin project are in breach of the Personal Data Privacy Ordinance (PDPO).

The Privacy Commissioner, Ada Chung Lai-ling, issued an enforcement notice on May 22, ordering Worldcoin to immediately cease all operations in Hong Kong involving the collection and scanning of iris and facial images of the public using iris scanning devices.

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This investigation began in January 2024 to assess whether the project's methods for identity verification put the privacy of citizens' personal data at risk and breached the requirements of the PDPO.

Between December 2023 and January 2024, the PCPD conducted 10 undercover visits at six locations involved in the management of the Worldcoin project.

They found that facial image collection was unnecessary to verify the identity of participants, as iris scanning devices could already verify identities in person at the operation sites.

Worldcoin said:

“Worldcoin Foundation is disappointed by the views recently released by the regulatory authorities in Hong Kong. Worldcoin operates lawfully and is designed to be fully compliant with all laws and regulations governing data collection and use, including the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance of Hong Kong, among many other similar statutes across other markets. In an effort to prepare humanity for the age of AI, the Foundation continues to raise the privacy bar through data minimization, user control over data and advanced technology such as personal custody, iris code deletion, and secure multi-party computation. Unfortunately, the authorities in Hong Kong overlooked these aspects in their evaluation of the humanness verification process.”

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