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Worldcoin Halts Spanish Operations Amid Data Protection Inquiry

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Worldcoin has agreed to halt its activities in Spain until the end of the year or until the German data authority resolves its ongoing investigation into data protection concerns.

Worldcoin Ceases Activities in Spain Following Directive from Data Protection Authorities

The Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD) announced on June 4 that Tools for Humanity Corporation, the company behind the Worldcoin identity and financial network, has committed to suspending its data collection and processing activities in Spain until the end of 2024 or until the conclusion of an ongoing investigation. This decision came after an order from Spanish authorities in March 2024 for Worldcoin to stop collecting and processing personal data within Spain under its Worldcoin project framework.

Currently, the Bavarian data protection authority in Germany, Bayerische Landesamt für Datenschutzaufsicht (BayLDA), is conducting an investigation into Worldcoin’s handling of personal user data. According to the announcement, BayLDA is actively advancing its investigations and is expected to reach a final decision “soon,” which will be aligned with the supervisory authorities across Europe, including Spain.

Enhanced Security Measures Implemented by Worldcoin

In the midst of these investigations, Worldcoin has enhanced its security measures. The company has open-sourced its biometric data system and confirmed that users now have the capability to securely delete old iris codes. Additionally, it has implemented more rigorous controls to verify users’ ages and the option to remove iris codes.

Worldcoin’s data protection concerns are not limited to Spain and Germany. On May 22, authorities in Hong Kong ordered the project to halt its operations following a ruling that its retention of sensitive biometric data, including face and iris images, for up to 10 years for training artificial intelligence (AI) models was unjustifiable.

Despite regulatory scrutiny, Worldcoin has continued to gain traction. In April 2024, the project celebrated a milestone of 10 million users and 70 million transactions. The project also gained attention when a man in Africa used its cryptocurrency to purchase approximately 13 goats.

Moreover, in April, Worldcoin announced the launch of its “human-centric” blockchain network, World Chain. This new network aims to prioritize human users, enhance efficiency, and promote real-world utility in Web3 applications. The project also revealed plans to increase the supply of its token, WLD, by up to 19% over the next six months.

The ongoing investigation by European data protection authorities, particularly those in Spain and Germany, reflects broader concerns about Worldcoin’s practices. The resolution of these investigations will be critical in determining the future operations of Worldcoin in these regions.

Worldcoin’s operations in Europe have come under significant scrutiny from data protection authorities, leading to a temporary suspension of activities in Spain. The German data protection authority, Bayerische Landesamt für Datenschutzaufsicht (BayLDA), is actively investigating Worldcoin’s handling of personal user data, aiming to reach a resolution that aligns with other European supervisory bodies. This coordinated effort highlights the stringent data protection standards in the European Union and reflects broader concerns regarding the retention and processing of sensitive biometric data by Worldcoin. Despite these challenges, Worldcoin continues to adapt by enhancing its security measures and maintaining its growth trajectory within the region.

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