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Spain Orders Worldcoin to Stop Collecting Data

Last Updated March 7, 2024 5:02 PM
James Morales
Last Updated March 7, 2024 5:02 PM
By James Morales
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • The Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) has ordered Tools for Humanity Worldcoin project to cease collecting and processing data.
  • Worldcoin has already pulled its “Orb” biometric scanners from France.
  • Germany is the only EU country where they remain operational.

Since the Worldcoin developer Tools for Humanity launched its iris-scanning “Orb” technology, the spherical biometric scanners have appeared in various locations around the world. 

As of March 6, however, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) has ordered the firm to stop collecting data in the country. The agency cited concerns that the scanners could breach the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Privacy Watchdog Throws Cold Water on Worldcoin Orb

In a statement  issued on Wednesday, the AEPD said it had received complaints about the way Worldcoin was collecting personal data. 

Specifically, it alleged that Tools for Humanity didn’t provide enough transparency into how data was processed. The AEPD also claimed Tools for Humanity collected data from minors. Furthermore, the agency claimed the company didn’t let people withdraw consent for their personal data to be processed.

Under the EU’s privacy framework, biometric data is “protected” and subject to enhanced regulations. 

If the allegations are true, Worldcoin’s alleged shortcomings amount to three major GDPR violations. As a result, the AEPD ordered the company to cease collecting and processing data immediately.

AEPD Evokes Emergency GDPR Powers, Citing “Urgent Need” for Intervention

Although data protection authorities actions aren’t usually so abrupt, the AEPD said the claims against Worldcoin warranted exceptional measures. 

Arguing that it was necessary to intervene without a formal investigation, the agency Evoked Article 66  of the GDPR, which grants it temporary powers to act “if there is “an urgent need to act in order to protect the rights and freedoms of data subjects.”


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