Hong Kong Regulator Finds Worldcoin’s Biometric Data Collection in Violation of Privacy Laws

The Worldcoin project, led by Sam Altman, has encountered a new setback as the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) in Hong Kong has ordered the Foundation to cease all operations in the region. The PCPD found that Worldcoin had collected facial and iris biometric data from over 8,000 individuals during its operations in Hong Kong. After conducting inspections, the agency concluded that this data collection was excessive and violated privacy laws in Hong Kong.

The PCPD highlighted concerns about Worldcoin retaining personal data for up to 10 years for AI model training, stating that there are alternative methods to verify humanness that are less invasive. This move by Hong Kong adds to the list of regions objecting to Worldcoin’s practices, with issues also arising in South Korea, Spain, and Portugal regarding biometric data collection.

Despite criticism from privacy advocates, Billy Luedtke, CEO of decentralized identity startup ‘Intuition,’ commended Worldcoin for addressing the challenge of verifying human sources amidst advancements in AI technology. Luedtke emphasized the importance of ongoing dialogues between governments and industries to innovate in privacy technologies and improve data privacy on the internet.

The halt on Worldcoin’s operations in Hong Kong is seen as a precedent for crypto regulation in the APAC region by Jerry Li, Co-Founder of Artela Network. While promoting data privacy and adherence to regulations, Li clarified that this does not indicate hostility towards cryptocurrencies in Hong Kong, as the government continues to support the industry through clear regulations and financial infrastructure.

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