Blania described a futuristic world filled with Orbs of various shapes and sizes, where each person would be assigned a unique and anonymous code linked to their iris that they could use. to log into a wide range of web and blockchain based applications.
Blania does not rule out the possibility that Worldcoin will charge a fee for providing this service, but the startup mainly plans to make money through the appreciation of its coin. “You distribute tokens to as many people as you can,” Blania said. As a result, “the utility of the token increases significantly” and the “price of the token increases”.
The key to all of this technology is the Orb itself, and the contract that Orb executives sign under emphasizes the company’s focus on stress-testing it. “Your role is to help us evaluate Orbs and how people interact with them,” the contract reads. “You should think of yourself as a product tester.”
Blania told BuzzFeed News that the company mainly uses field tests to see how the spheres perform in different environments – from the heat of Kenya to the freezing cold of Norway. “In Kenya, where the temperature is up to 40 degrees, and just having a reflection on the Globe is something that we haven’t seen in Germany in the office,” says Blania.
Adam Schwartz, a senior attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the uncertainty about Worldcoin’s goals is troubling. “The question is is this a digital currency company or is this a data broker?” he say. “Either way, the practice is paying people for their biometrics, which is very problematic for privacy and equity.”
“Worldcoin is not a data company and our business model does not involve mining or selling personal user data. Worldcoin only cares about user uniqueness – i.e. they have not registered for Worldcoin before – not their identity,” Worldcoin’s Golovina said in a statement.
The company’s efforts to build up its database could also lead to violations of privacy and data processing laws in Kenya, where the company has many operations. Kenya recently passed a data protection law that prohibits companies from transferring biometric data abroad without the approval of the newly created Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. Worldcoin currently processes user data in the US, UK, Germany, Japan and India, according to its data consent form.
Immaculate Kassait, Kenya’s data commissioner, told BuzzFeed News her office was “unknown” that Worldcoin was collecting biometric data of Kenyans and transferring it abroad.
The company has until July 14 to register with the commission and submit a detailed Data Protection Impact Assessment under Kenya’s newly enforced data privacy law, Kassait said by email. . Worldcoin’s Golovina told BuzzFeed News that the company will soon engage with Kenya’s Data Commission and has conducted a “rigorous” privacy impact assessment.
Bryan Ford, head of the Distributed/Decentralized Systems (DEDIS) lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and wrote one of the pioneering papers on proof of individuality in 2008, says solving the authentication problem in a way that protects user privacy would be a significant advance. However, Ford was not convinced by Worldcoin’s solution. According to him, the company’s decision to build and store a huge, centralized database of irises and iris hashes is a major invasion of user privacy.
“We dispute the fact that collecting images of Worldcoin users is an invasion of privacy: If collecting images of people with their consent is an invasion of privacy, then CLEAR.” — biometric identification company — “The United Nations and Aadhaar would both be examples of invasions of privacy,” Golovina said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.
“Informed consent means you can fully understand what’s going on,” said Elias Okwara, Africa policy director for advocacy group Access Now. immediately, it is difficult to explain to an individual what the data processing means.”
Golovina, the spokesperson, said that Worldcoin will soon be rolling out its privacy form in six languages, and suggested that Orb operators are directly translating and explaining the company’s extensive policies to people. do not speak English. “In all these local countries we have Orb operators and their whole purpose and role is to explain to people what they agree to in their local language,” Golovina speak.
Ford said any large biometric database is vulnerable to hacking, explaining that the database could be compromised if someone hacks into the thousands of Orbs the company plans to distribute. distribute. “Basically, no hardware is reliable,” says Ford.
Blania admits that “there has never been an unregulated hardware device” but says that Worldcoin is building fraud detection mechanisms to identify compromised Orbs.