MPs want CA to disable Worldcoin internet link


Worldcoin Co-founder and Chief executive officer, Alex Blania (left ) and his Chief Legal Officer Thomas Scott before members of the National Assembly Ad-hoc committee investigating the world coin at parliament buildings on September 6, 2023. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Members of Parliament have asked the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) to disable the virtual platforms of Worldcoin pending the review of the regulatory framework for virtual assets.

The regulator will have a week to implement the recommendation by the ad-hoc committee on the inquiry into the activities of Worldcoin in Kenya.

“Within seven days of the adoption of this report, the Communications Authority to disable the virtual platforms of M/s Tools for Humanity Corp and M/s Tools for Humanity GmbH, Germany (Worldcoin) including blacklisting the IP addresses of related websites and to suspend their physical presence in Kenya," the Committee said in its report tabled on the floor of the National Assembly last week.

Read: MPs to grill CBK, Treasury on activities of WorldCoin

An IP-which stands for Internet Protocol- is a unique address that identifies a device on the internet or a local network. In essence, IP addresses are the identifier that allows information to be sent between devices on a network.

The MPs have tasked the Treasury with developing regulation and enforcement infrastructure to ensure virtual assets and their providers are adequately monitored.

The investigation into the operations of Worldcoin is set to continue with the committee recommending that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Director of Public Prosecutions look into the operations and take requisite legal action where culpability is established.

The committee established that Worldcoin operated in Kenya despite a lack of regulation in cryptocurrency and that the entity likely exploited the weak legal framework in Kenya.

During the parliamentary investigation, Worldcoin submitted it was a project founded with the mission of creating a digital identification platform ID that aims to provide every person with a way to verify that they are a real human and use the attendant data to train artificial intelligence algorithms for future technological advancements.

According to the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Digital Economy, Worldcoin started collecting data in Kenya in May 2021.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) began the assessment of Worldcoin’s activities in April 2022 after a tipoff by Buzzfeed News USA asking for data and details on their operations.

Also read: KARANJA: How to invest, keep personal data safe in today’s digital era

Last month, the ODPC cancelled the registration of Worldcoin as a data controller after expressing dissatisfaction with data processing, the legal basis for data collection, legitimate interest, and how the entity was seeking to obtain consent.

The Ministry of Information, through the ICT Authority, is also expected to develop a comprehensive oversight framework and policies on virtual assets in Kenya within six months of the adoption of the report.

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