The Ministry of Interior has suspended the operations of controversial tech firm WorldCoin and any other entity that may be similarly engaging the members of the public.
In a statement issued on August 2, 2023, the Ministry highlighted the safety of public data in relation to the collection of information through the registration of citizens through collection of eyeball/iris data.
This is after thousands of Kenyans queued at shopping malls where the iris scans are being taken.
"Relevant security, financial services and data protection agencies have commenced inquiries and investigations to establish the authenticity and legality of the aforesaid activities, the safety and protection of the data being harvested, and how the harvesters intend to use the data," read part of the statement.
Interior CS Kithure Kindiki pointed out that the government would undertake all measures to assure public safety and the integrity of the financial transactions involving such a large number of citizens be satisfactorily provided upfront.
Further, appropriate action will be taken on any natural or juristic person who furthers, aids, abets or otherwise engages in or is connected with the activities until the government deems WorldCoin is safe.
Following the directive, police officers were deployed to disperse hundreds queuing at KICC, Nairobi for the exercise.
The directive comes minutes after ICT Eliud Owalo had stated that the government was yet to kick out the international company as it had not broken any laws.
During an interview on NTV, Owalo confirmed that the government was keenly observing operations of WorldCoin to understand its operations and data protection measures.
He pointed out that WorldCoin targeted loopholes in Kenya's data protection laws to launch operations in the country.
"There are security issues even though in relation to the current data laws, they have not breached anything. Our laws, regulations are not comprehensive," Owalo stated.
"Within the existing legal framework today, there are no provisions in the law that the organisation has negated. However, there could be security and regulatory issues around it."
Kenyans have in the past week been queuing to enroll in the initiative - which awards users 25 free tokens, known as WLD, once they verify they are humans by scanning their iris.
The free tokens can be transferred to cryptocurrencies and can hence be cashed out as liquid money. Currently, 25 tokens translates to Ksh7,786.