Interior CS Kindiki suspends Worldcoin collection of data


A man is helped scan his iris to create identification codes as part of the requirement while registering as a member of the new Worldcoin cryptocurrency at KICC Nairobi on August 1, 2023. 

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

The government has suspended the ongoing collection of personal data from Kenyans by Worldcoin until all security concerns are addressed.

Announcing the suspension on Wednesday morning, Interior CS Kithure Kindiki said the public safety and integrity of financial transactions involving such a large number of citizens must be satisfactorily assured in advance.

"The government has suspended forthwith, activities of ‘WORLD COIN’ and any other entity that may be similarly engaging the people of Kenya until relevant public agencies certify the absence of any risks to the general public whatsoever," part of the statement reads.

“The Government is concerned by the ongoing activities of an organisation calling itself ‘WORLD COIN’ which is involved in the registration of citizens through collection of eyeball/iris data.”

This comes a day after thousands of Kenyans turned up at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre to be registered in the world's AI cryptocurrency.

Anyone who ignores the suspension

Prof Kindiki said that appropriate action would be taken against anyone who ignores the suspension.

The CS added that the collection of data by orb systems, which scan a person's iris to determine if they are human, could put the data at risk.

"Relevant security, financial services and data protection agencies have commenced inquiries and investigations to establish the authenticity and legality of the aforesaid activities."

On Tuesday, police officers were forced to suspend the Worldcoin registration process at the KICC, citing security concerns.

Upon registration, a new member is rewarded with a token, which is equivalent to Sh7,000, but in terms of coins deposited in the Worldcoin wallet.