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French privacy watchdog questions Worldcoin data collection legality

French privacy watchdog questions Worldcoin data collection legality

France's privacy watchdog says that the legality of Worldcoin's biometric data gathering "seems questionable," according to Reuters.

Launched earlier this week Worldcoin distributes tokens to people "just for being a unique individual". To prove their uniqueness and get the token, people have their eyeballs scanned by a piece of hardware called "The Orb".

French regulator CNIL has now told Reuters: "The legality of this collection seems questionable, as do the conditions for storing biometric data."

The regulator says that it is supporting an investigation into the issue by the Bavarian state authority in Germany, which has jurisdiction.

Altman and his co-founders claim that Worldcoin could help create "universal access to the global economy regardless of country or background" and enable "global democratic processes" in the age of AI.

However, it has provoked a backlash over privacy concerns ever since it was announced in 2021, with Edward Snowden among those chiming in.

In May, when the project secured $115 million in funding, one investor, Blockchain Capital's Spencer Bogart, revealed that his firm initially shared the worries: "It seemed Orwellian in nature and, at first glance, appears to be a noxious combination of hardware, biometrics, and crypto — a grab bag not for the faint of heart."

However, after investigating the project, Bogart now insists that "World ID is a privacy-preserving identity protocol that does not collect or store anyone’s biometric information".

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