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Worldcoin’s processing of biometric data has caught the attention of Spanish regulatory authorities, with the country’s Data Protection Agency (AEPD) making moves against the platform.

Tools for Humanity Corporation, operator of the human identity and financial network Worldcoin, has been made subject to a precautionary measure from the AEPD after the regulator received ‘several complaints’ from Spanish consumers.

These complaints concerned ‘insufficient information, the collection of data from minors or that the withdrawal of consent is not allowed’, the AEPD’s statement detailed, adding that biometric data is considered high-risk under GDPR laws.

The statement continued: “Consequently, this precautionary measure is a decision based on exceptional circumstances, in which it is necessary and proportionate to adopt provisional measures aimed at the immediate cessation of this processing of personal data, preventing its possible transfer to third parties and safeguarding the fundamental right to personal data protection.”

The AEPD has called for Worldcoin to cease collecting and processing special categories of personal data and to block data that has already been collected. The temporary ban imposed by the regulator can last for up to three months.

The regulator added that its temporary prohibition of data collection activities by Worldcoin is justified in the context of EU data protection laws and to ‘avoid potentially irreparable damage’ by depriving individuals of their right to data protection.

This is not the first time that Worldcoin’s data collection policies and methods have been a cause for concern, with the platform’s eyeball scanning solution having become a source of controversy in particular. 

Launched in July last year, the technology was described as a ‘dystopian’ by some. The technology grants users access to digital coins after scanning their iris via an ‘Orb’ by staring into its camera for around 10 seconds.

Speaking to Payment Expert in the immediate aftermath of the controversy, Daniel Fogg, Chief Executive Officer at IOV Labs, offered his viewpoint on why the scanning technology had caused so much controversy. 

“Simply put, with some exceptions, any data that is put on the blockchain is publicly available, obscured but visible, and it could be there forever with the inability to take it down,” he said.

However, while he noted that the notion of this data being given away is ‘terrifying’, Fogg added that “cryptographically speaking, no one should ever be able to access that data unless the permissions were there”.

Regardless, the AEPD’s decision shows that public and regulatory concerns around data privacy and protection relating to Worldcoin’s operations have not let up…