Spain Temporarily Bans Worldcoin Eyeball Scans Over Privacy Concerns

Spain has temporarily banned the use of Worldcoin’s iris scanning technology, highlighting significant concerns regarding privacy and data protection. The action comes after the nation’s privacy watchdog ordered Worldcoin, a business started by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, to cease operations for three months due to concerns about the handling of users’ personal information.

Worldcoin aims to offer individuals a secure and non-duplicable form of identification through its innovative technology. The company achieves this by creating a “World ID” through the scanning of individuals’ iris using “orbs,” a device designed to capture images of the eyes’ coloured parts. In exchange for undergoing the eyeball scans, participants receive Worldcoin cryptocurrency.

The Agency for Data Protection in Spain directed Worldcoin’s parent company, Tools for Humanity Corporation, to stop gathering personal data and preserve all data previously acquired. The agency’s decision follows numerous complaints against Worldcoin, ranging from concerns about the collection of minors’ personal data to challenges regarding the withdrawal of consent for data sharing.


Reports indicate that people have queued at designated points in cities like Madrid and Barcelona to undergo the orb scans in recent months. However, investigations into Worldcoin’s operations have raised concerns about potential privacy violations and misuse of personal information, including personalised marketing.

With over 360,000 individuals in Spain having signed up for Worldcoin as of November, the company’s operations have drawn scrutiny not only from Spanish authorities but also from regulators in other countries. In addition to Spain, France, Germany, and Kenya are scrutinizing Worldcoin to evaluate the effectiveness of its data protection measures and the security of users’ information.

In response to the ban, Worldcoin emphasised its commitment to privacy and criticised the actions of the Spanish data protection authority. Jannick Preiwisch, Worldcoin’s data protection officer, denounced the AEPD’s actions as circumventing EU law and accused them of spreading inaccurate and misleading claims about the company’s technology.

As regulatory scrutiny intensifies, the controversy surrounding Worldcoin’s eyeball scanning technology underscores the importance of balancing innovation with privacy concerns in the digital age. The results of these investigations are expected to significantly influence the future landscape of digital identification and data protection regulations on a global scale.


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