Members of an Ad-hoc Committee formed by the National Assembly to investigate the operations of cryptocurrency firm, Worldcoin, is set to intensify its probe this week even as it emerged that the data of over 350,000 Kenyans was illegally collected and shipped out of the country.
The committee investigating the operations and conduct of the cryptocurrency firm, heard that Worldcoin is not registered in Kenya, and all its activities remain illegal.
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The revelations were made by the Attorney-General Justin Muturi, the National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee and the Communications Authority of Kenya.
The three agencies appeared before the Ad hoc Committee to shed light on the activities of Worldcoin and its subsidiary – Companies Tools for Humanity and Sense Marketing.
The 15-member committee chaired by Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo, was informed that Worldcoin had breached all the rules governing the operations of any foreign company in Kenya.
Members of the committee were informed that despite the Constitutional and other legal guidelines for operation of foreign companies in Kenya, Worldcoin breached the rules, harvested, processed, and transmitted extremely sensitive data from unsuspecting Kenyans without the necessary approvals.
“Worldcoin is not registered as a company for whatever purpose in accordance with the provisions of Kenyan law. According to the Business Registration Services, Worldcoin and Tools for Humanity do not appear in their database,” said AG Muturi.
The AG however, acknowledged that the company is currently registered as data collectors and processors by the office of the Data Protection Commissioner.
He attributed the ability of a foreign company to infiltrate the Kenyan space and set up shop for illegal activities, to the existing gaps in the country’s laws and inadequacies of regulations.
“The activities of Worldcoin invoke legal questions. There is a possibility they took more than the Iris against the individual’s image rights.
“There is a need to protect Kenyans within the area of consumer protection laws, and it is critical that the National Treasury takes the lead in proposing the setup of a task force to deal with crypto currency within the space of data and consumer protection. The laws we have are not sufficient to address matters such as this one,” the AG said.
The Cybercrimes Coordination Committee told the legislators that their preliminary assessment of the operations of WorldCoin point towards genuine concerns on the security and safety of the Kenyan Citizens’ sensitive personal data and Kenya’s cyberspace.
They revealed that critical data from over 350,000 Kenyans has been processed and transmitted to Amazon Servers in the United States of America.
“The owners of this project are very ambitious people. It is a multinational company that came to Kenya to allegedly conduct research which involved collection of very critical personal data which they would in turn use to develop their systems without approval,” said James Kimuyu, director of the committee.
CA director-general Ezra Chiloba, said they were unaware of the existence or activities of Worldcoin in Kenya, as it is not registered with the Authority as a practitioner. He added that CA only learned about it from media reports.
The Committee’s inquiry into the matter continues with meetings scheduled this week with various state agencies meant to shed light on the matter at hand.