Worldcoin's data acquisition strategy worries the French privacy watchdog

By: Henry Felix

Worldcoin's data acquisition strategy worries the French privacy watchdog

July 28, 2023 4:59 PM

The French data protection watchdog CNIL has stated that the legality of Worldcoin's collection methods, as well as the conditions for preserving the data, are "questionable."

The legality of Worldcoin's data collection practices is being questioned, according to a Reuters report→, by France's data protection watchdog, the National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) of France. 

On July 28th, CNIL stated in an e-mail to Reuters:

"The legitimacy of this collection, as well as the criteria for protecting biometric data, appears to be questionable."

CNIL also announced that it had launched inquiries and had been assisting the Bavarian state authorities in Germany with its probe.

On July 25, Reuters reported that Worldcoin may face inquiries from data authorities in the United Kingdom following its launch. 

Worldcoin was introduced on June 24 by OpenAI, the startup behind the popular artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot ChatGPT. Users must offer an iris scan in return to obtain digital identification and free cryptocurrency under the project.

According to the company's web page, 2.1 million individuals have already joined up for the project, but most of them have done so during the trial phase during the last two years.

In a post on Twitter (which also is rebranding to X), the firm claimed that following its official launch, "a unique individual is now verifying their own World ID every 7.6 seconds & new records continue to be set daily."


Since its July 24 introduction, Worldcoin has uploaded photographs of its orbs in several locations around the world on Twitter, including Seoul, Mexico City, and Paris.

Despite the hype, the crypto world has had varied feelings about Worldcoin. Some users have pointed out potential failures due to its centralization, while others argue that with the increasing prevalence of AI, proof of personhood is required. 

According to additional reports, Worldcoin has failed to recruit new sign-ups since its inception, with the three designated venues in Hong Kong only seeing roughly 200 sign-ups on the first day for a total of 600 altogether.

The following day, co-founder Sam Altman responded to the claims by sharing a video of a huge queue of individuals in Japan waiting to complete iris scans.