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South Korea Launches Investigation On Worldcoin Amid Privacy Concerns

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South Korea’s Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) has initiated investigations into the cryptocurrency project Worldcoin, following a wave of complaints concerning the collection and handling of personal information. The probe highlights growing concerns over privacy breaches and regulatory compliance within the cryptocurrency sector.

Investigation Initiated

The PIPC’s decision to launch an investigation into Worldcoin stems from numerous complaints regarding its data collection practices, particularly concerning the scanning of individuals’ irises in exchange for cryptocurrency.

The commission aims to thoroughly examine how Worldcoin collects, processes, and potentially transfers sensitive personal information, with a focus on adherence to local privacy regulations.

Regulatory Scrutiny And Potential Consequences

The investigation underscores broader discussions within both the cryptocurrency community and the technology sector regarding data privacy and regulatory compliance. If violations of local privacy rules are discovered, the PIPC has affirmed its readiness to take appropriate action against the company, signaling potential legal repercussions for the project and its affiliates.

Background And Previous Incidents

The scrutiny surrounding Worldcoin’s data handling practices is further compounded by past incidents and has faced probes in several countries, including:

  • Kenya: In August 2023, Kenyan authorities suspended Worldcoin’s operations and launched an investigation into the project following concerns about the legality of its activities and potential breaches of data privacy. The Kenyan government cited concerns about Worldcoin’s use of biometric data mining devices without prior regulatory approval, and the lack of clarity on how the collected data would be used and protected.
  • France: France’s data protection watchdog, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), opened an investigation into Worldcoin’s Paris hub in July 2023. The probe centered on how Worldcoin ensured compliance with European data protection regulations, particularly regarding user consent and data security practices.
  • Argentina: The Argentine Agency for Access to Public Information (AAIP) launched an investigation in August 2023 to determine if Worldcoin’s data collection practices comply with Argentinian privacy laws. 


As South Korea’s investigation into Worldcoin unfolds, it serves as a reminder of the pressing need for transparency, accountability, and compliance with privacy regulations within the cryptocurrency industry. The outcome of this probe could have far-reaching implications not only for Worldcoin but also for the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem as regulators seek to strike a balance between innovation and data protection.

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