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Vitalik Buterin Says Worldcoin Doing Good Job at Taking Privacy Criticism Seriously

Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, recently shared his thoughts on Worldcoin’s endeavor to safeguard user data privacy, commending their efforts.

Responding to a user’s social media post addressing the project co-founded by Sam Altman of OpenAI, Buterin acknowledged that Worldcoin has made significant strides in protecting personal information through cryptography.

“In my opinion, they have genuinely made considerable strides in addressing privacy concerns and crafting their system to minimize data collection,” Buterin expressed.

He further remarked, “Modern cryptography is undeniably remarkable.”

Buterin’s Concerns and Skepticism

In October 2023, Vitalik Buterin expressed apprehensions regarding Worldcoin, particularly its core mechanism of verifying human identity through iris scanning. He deliberated on its concept of a “digital passport,” aimed at distinguishing humans from artificial intelligence, but highlighted concerns regarding privacy and accessibility.

Buterin acknowledged the system’s potential in addressing issues such as anti-spam measures and preventing concentration of power. However, he cautioned against the risk of decentralized governance being susceptible to manipulation by affluent entities, including hostile governments, if the challenge of proving personhood remained unresolved.

A major concern voiced by Buterin was the extensive data gathered through iris scanning, which could potentially expose sensitive personal details like gender, ethnicity, and medical history.

In terms of global accessibility, Buterin expressed skepticism, pointing out the logistical challenges. He remarked, “Even with significantly scaled-up distributed manufacturing, achieving a scenario where there’s an Orb within a five-kilometer radius of every individual would be exceedingly difficult.”

Governments Act to Regulate Worldcoin

Worldcoin’s practices regarding the collection of biometric data have recently come under regulatory scrutiny globally.

In Portugal, the National Data Protection Commission (CNPD) imposed a temporary 90-day halt on Worldcoin on March 26. This action was taken due to concerns over the collection of iris and facial scans without sufficient consent, particularly from minors.

Similarly, in Spain, the Data Protection Agency (AEPD) initiated a three-month ban on Worldcoin’s data collection starting March 6, citing similar issues. Despite legal appeals by Worldcoin, a local court upheld the AEPD’s decision.

These instances highlight an increasing level of regulatory scrutiny faced by Worldcoin across various jurisdictions. In locations such as Hong Kong and Kenya, concerns regarding privacy risks and the collection of biometric data have prompted investigations and limitations on the platform’s operations.

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