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Stickers handed out to people who signed up for WorldCoin are seen at a sign-up site in Shoreditch, East London, Britain, July 24, 2023. /REUTERS

Kenya suspends Worldcoin over safety concerns

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

The project, founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, requires users to give their iris scans in exchange for a digital ID. And in some countries, users also get free cryptocurrency as part of plans to create a new “identity and financial network”.

“The government is concerned by the ongoing activities of an organization calling itself ‘WORLD COIN’ which is involved in the registration of citizens through the collection of eyeball/iris data,” said the statement signed by Minister Kithure Kindiki. Kindiki also says appropriate action would be taken against anyone who ignores the suspension.

Since its launch, people around the world have flocked to Worldcoin registration sites to get their eyes scanned by a shiny spherical “orb”.

Local media reports that more than 350,000 Kenyans had signed up for Worldcoin as of Tuesday, in exchange for free cryptocurrency tokens worth around 7,000 Kenyan shillings ($49.09).

European regulators are also stepping up their inquiries into Worldcoin. France and Germany are among the latest countries to investigate the controversial crypto project.

But Worldcoin recently declared that it plans to substantially increase the number of orbs in major cities as the year progresses—meaning it’ll have five times more capacity for sign-ups.

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