Site icon Al Kags

The Worldcoin deception in Kenya

Worldcoin promotional picture from KEnya

Worldcoin promotional picture from KEnya

Crypto aside, this was extraction of Kenyans biometric data for profit

Over the past few weeks, I have had a bee in the bonnet. As were many Kenyans, I was intrigued that there were queues of people in Nairobi who were having their irises scanned in exchange for some cryptocurrency called Worldcoin (WLD). They were getting about 49 US dollars worth per person.

Kenyans queue at KICC to register for Worldcoin

Disturbing findings

I checked them out and discovered several more disturbing things. The initiative claimed to be scanning the irises to provide people with a “World ID”, which would be used in the fast-developing AI world as “proof of personhood.” The white paper persuasively describes why PoP will be needed as we go forward and to be honest, I don’t have much of a problem with the process. The quest for Proof of Personhood or the “Unique Human” will be an important issue in coming days as Cryptocurrency markets grow and as financial services evolve – as they surely must. It would be instructive for all of us to read some of the literature on it such as this to explain the issue.

The company says that their technology can be used to verify the identity of real humans online, which is becoming increasingly important as AI bots become more common. It can also be used to help distribute a universal basic income in a global economy that is being disrupted by AI. The argument goes that AI bots are becoming increasingly sophisticated and difficult to distinguish from real humans. This is a problem because AI bots can be used to commit fraud, spread misinformation, and disrupt online conversations. The company’s technology can help to solve this problem by verifying the identity of real humans online.

Worldcoin claims that the biometric data collected by the Orb is deleted once it is uploaded to the company’s servers. However, the company has not yet finished training its AI neural network to recognize irises and detect fraud. As a result, it is unclear what happens to the biometric data in the meantime. They give vague descriptions of how it is handling the biometric data. For example, the company says that the data is “sent via secure, encrypted channels.” However, it is not clear who has access to the data, how long it is stored for, and what measures are in place to protect it from unauthorised access.

What’s worse, the consent form that most people do not read, reveals that the orbs also capture high-resolution images of the user’s face, eyes, and body, in addition to recording vital signs such as heart rate and breathing.

Biometric data is especially sensitive because it cannot be changed. Unlike our name or address, we cannot change our iris or fingerprints. This makes biometric data more vulnerable to abuse, as it can be used to identify people without their consent. For example, biometric data can be used to track people’s movements or to create a universal ID system. In addition, biometric data can be used to discriminate against people. For example, the Chinese government has been reported to use biometric data to track and persecute Uyghur Muslims. This is a clear example of how biometric data can be used for harmful purposes.

Many Questions

As I read more on the initiative, I found myself raising many questions, especially the following three:

Don’t catalogue eyes

Worldcoin at one point stood behind the “Willing buyer, willing seller” doctrine, making people sign some sot of consent form. While they have stated that consent is the lawful basis for processing personal data, there are reasonable grounds to believe that Worldcoin may not have obtained consent in the meaning of the Data Protection Act. Kenya’s Data Protection Act requires that consent is express, unequivocal, free, specific and informed. When my organisation and our partners checked with people who had submitted themselves to be scanned, we found that most Kenyans who queued to have their irises scanned were not given adequate opportunity to be informed of the Terms and Conditions they were signing up to. The focus of the engagement was to receive the Cryptocurrency. In many places, the communications printed said, “Come get your share.”

I contend that the Worldcoin Deception is possibly the worst, most intrusive privacy hack of human beings that entirely contradicts the good claims it makes for humanity’s future. We must stop them and seek justice for the many poor Kenyans who were hoodwinked and taken advantage of because they needed food.

Exit mobile version