The Kenyan government has recently established a committee to investigate the activities of American-based cryptocurrency firm, Worldcoin. This decision comes as the company’s collection of biometric data fails to comply with Kenya’s data privacy laws, raising concerns about security risks and potential health hazards. The committee, consisting of 17 members, has been given a limited timeframe of 42 days to conduct their investigations and report their findings to the National Assembly.
The Joint Ad Hoc Committee’s investigation into Worldcoin began on Monday with a meeting to outline its Terms of Reference. During this meeting, potential experts and witnesses were identified to appear before the legislators and shed light on Worldcoin’s relationship with crypto trading in Kenya and the reported issues regarding iris scans. This list includes key figures such as the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury, and representatives from the National Intelligence Service, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, and the Ministry of Health. Furthermore, the office of the Attorney General, the Registrar of Companies, and the Data Commissioner will also be called upon to clarify the legal framework surrounding Worldcoin’s operations in Kenya.
Worldcoin’s collection of biometric data in exchange for tokens raised several concerns among regulators in Kenya. Immaculate Kassait, the Data Commissioner for Kenya, expressed dissatisfaction with Worldcoin’s lack of transparency regarding its objectives during the registration process. The Kenyan Capital Markets Authority further highlighted that Worldcoin’s operations in the country were conducted without regulatory supervision, leading to skepticism among citizens about sharing their personal data. As a response to these concerns, the Interior Cabinet Secretary, Kithure Kindiki, ordered the suspension of all Worldcoin operations in the country due to security risks. Eliud Owalo, the digital counterpart of Kithure Kindiki, also issued warnings about Worldcoin.
In an effort to gather evidence and conduct proper investigations, the Kenyan police conducted a raid on Worldcoin’s facility in Nairobi. This operation resulted in the seizure of documents and equipment to access the collected data. Worldcoin, however, expressed its willingness to cooperate with the authorities and outlined plans to restart its operations once crowd-control measures are implemented.
Worldcoin’s suspension of operations in Kenya and the ongoing investigations by the government reflect the importance of data privacy and regulatory compliance in the cryptocurrency industry. This case serves as a reminder to all cryptocurrency firms operating in Kenya of the need to adhere to the country’s data privacy laws and obtain proper regulatory approvals. The committee’s findings will play a crucial role in determining the future course of action regarding Worldcoin’s operations in Kenya and may set a precedent for similar cases in the future.
The Kenyan government’s decision to establish a committee to investigate Worldcoin’s activities demonstrates its commitment to protecting the privacy and security of its citizens. The collection of biometric data by Worldcoin without proper compliance with data privacy laws has raised valid concerns that must be addressed. Through a thorough investigation process involving key experts and regulatory authorities, the committee aims to shed light on the relationship between Worldcoin and crypto trading in Kenya, as well as potential health hazards linked to the iris scans. This case serves as a wake-up call for cryptocurrency firms operating in Kenya to prioritize regulatory compliance and transparency to ensure the trust and confidence of the public. The committee’s report will carry significant weight in providing clarity on the legal framework governing Worldcoin’s operations and will shape the future of cryptocurrency regulation in Kenya.