Deception and exploitation : How Worldcoin recruited its first million test users

Worldcoin’s cryptocurrency token WLD debuted today on the world’s largest
cryptocurrency trading platform Binance to quite a bit of hype.
The company defines its tools as a digital identity protocol aiming to
support humanity in the age of AI, which consist of a privacy-preserving
digital identity and a digital currency (WLD) received simply for being
human (and registered on their platform via the ‘orb’.

On Mon, Jul 24, 2023 at 4:16 PM Mwendwa Kivuva via KICTANet <> wrote:

> Worldcoin was founded by Sam Altman, who also founded OpenAI, the company
> behind ChatGPT. Worldcoin is an iris biometric cryptocurrency project that
> has scanned and stored the eyes of millions of people across the world.
> Apart from invading our shopping malls to harvest eye iris data, I’ve now
> seen they are operating from inside supermarkets, most recently from inside
> Quickmarts in Nairobi.
> This is an important discussion because Worldcoin has been operating in
> Kenya for more than a year, collecting biometric iris scans of the
> uninformed consenting public. We had a discussion here, and it was not
> clear if the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) had given
> content for such eternal personally identifiable data to be collected.
> The privacy implications of Worldcoin collecting biometric iris scans of
> poor people are significant.
> 1) The data could be used to track people’s movements and activities. Iris
> scans are unique to each individual and can be used to identify people even
> if they are wearing disguises. This means that Worldcoin could track poor
> people’s movements, including where they go, who they meet, and what they
> do. This could be used to target them for marketing or surveillance
> purposes.
> 2) The data could be used to discriminate against poor people. Iris scans
> could be used to deny poor people access to services or opportunities. For
> example, a bank could use iris scans to deny a loan application from a poor
> person, or an employer could use iris scans to reject a job application
> from a poor person.
> 3) The data could be hacked or stolen. If the data is hacked or stolen, it
> could be used to commit identity theft or other crimes. This could have a
> devastating impact on poor people, who may not have the resources to
> recover from identity theft.
> 4. Obtaining informed consent is essential when collecting sensitive
> biometric data. Poor individuals may not fully understand the implications
> of providing their biometric data or may feel pressured to participate due
> to their socio-economic situation, potentially leading to uninformed or
> coerced consent.
> 5. There’s a concern that the initial purpose of collecting biometric data
> for cryptocurrency verification might evolve into other uses without
> adequate consent or oversight, leading to function creep and expanded
> surveillance.
> Informed consent is a process in which data subjects give permission for
> something to happen after they have been given and understood all the
> relevant information about it. Informed consent requires data subjects to
> understand the purpose of the data collection. This is one of the four
> elements of informed consent, along with information, comprehension, and
> voluntariness. There are some concerns about Worldcoin’s consent process.
> 1. The consent form is not clear about what data is being collected. The
> consent form does not explicitly state that Worldcoin is collecting
> biometric data, such as iris scans. Instead, the form simply states that
> Worldcoin is collecting “personal data.” This could lead users to believe
> that they are only giving consent to the collection of non-sensitive
> personal data, such as their name and address.
> 2. The consent form is not easy to understand. The consent form is written
> in complex legal language that is difficult for many people to understand.
> This could make it difficult for users to understand what they are
> consenting to.
> 3. The consent form is not easy to revoke. Once users have given consent
> to Worldcoin to collect their biometric data, it is difficult to revoke
> their consent. Users must send a written request to Worldcoin, and the
> company is not required to delete the data immediately.
> There is an exciting read from MIT claiming that Worldcoin has built a
> biometric database from the bodies of the poor using deceptive practices:
> Read along here
> Which direction should African and global majority countries take in
> regard to Western companies harvesting personally identifiable data from
> their citizens?
> Best Regards,
> ______________________
> Mwendwa Kivuva, Nairobi, Kenya