Spanish data protection agency moves to temporarily block Worldcoin

Worldcoin must cease collecting and processing personal data in Spain, according to a press release Wednesday


OpenAI CEO Sam Altman | "World Economic Forum Annual Meeting"/World Economic Forum (CC license) modified by Blockworks


Spain’s data protection regulator has asked Worldcoin to stop collecting information and to cease using information it has already collected. 

According to a press statement sent to Blockworks, the Spanish data protection agency, AEPD, ordered a “precautionary measure” against Worldcoin’s parent company, Tools for Humanity. 

The Financial Times first reported the news, adding that Worldcoin was given 72 hours to comply with the order.

The measure orders Worldcoin to stop collecting and processing data, while also ensuring that the data already collected won’t be used. 

“For months we have been engaged with Bavarian data protection authority (BayLDA), who are the lead supervisory authority under the GDPR for Worldcoin Foundation and Tools for Humanity. The Spanish data protection authority (AEPD) is circumventing EU law with their actions today, which are limited to Spain and not the broader EU, and spreading inaccurate and misleading claims about our technology globally,” Worldcoin’s Jannick Preiwisch told Blockworks in a statement. 

“Our efforts to engage with the AEPD and provide them with an accurate view of Worldcoin and World ID have gone unanswered for months,” Preiwisch continued, adding that Worldcoin is “willing to engage with regulators” to address feedback and questions.

“The AEPD has received several complaints against this company about insufficient information, the collection of data from minors and the fact that consent cannot be withdrawn, among other infringements,” the press release said.

Read more: Worldcoin to continue working with regulators after international controversy

The General Data Protection Regulation in Spain protects biometric data protection under “special protection given their sensitive nature.”

“This decision is based on exceptional circumstances, where it is necessary to adopt precautionary measures aimed at the immediate cessation of the processing activities to prevent the possible transfer of data to third parties and to safeguard the fundamental right to the protection of personal data,” the AEPD said.

Worldcoin, according to the order on Wednesday, will be prohibited from further activity in Spain for a “maximum period of three months.”

Last year, Worldcoin faced scrutiny from international regulators, according to multiple reports.

The Sam Altman-backed project had warehouses in Kenya reportedly raided, while German and French regulators questioned the legality of biometric data collection.

Updated March 6, 2024 at 10:10 am ET: Added comment from Worldcoin.

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