The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director General Ezra Chiloba has raised five concerns regarding WorldCoin's collection of data from Kenyans in exchange for Ksh7,700.
In an investigation it handled alongside the Data Protection Commissioner, the CA DG cautioned Kenyans against readily providing their personal data, especially in a situation where a financial token is handed to them as a result.
He noted that the multi-national player lacked clarity on the security and storage of the collected sensitive data which included facial recognition and iris scans. The authority further argued that obtaining consumer consent in exchange for monetary reward borders on inducement.
The Authority also admitted that providing data to other parties especially touching on crypto was risky since there was a cloud of uncertainty regarding consumer protection on cryptocurrency and related ICT services and that there was inadequate information on cybersecurity safeguards and standards.
Lastly, the DG noted that there lacked an appropriate framework governing the massive data collected by private actors.
The two state agencies further argued that Worldoin's activities had raised eyebrows in other countries, including the first world, such as Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and India.
"These issues require a comprehensive inquiry to enable regulators to advise stakeholders on appropriate measures to protect the public interest.
"Arising from these preliminary observations, a multi-agency investigation is underway. Consequently, and as directed by the Government, the WorldCoin must cease its data collection activities in Kenya until further notice," read the letter co-signed by Chiloba and Data Commissioner Immaculate Kassait.
The concerns came hours after Interior CS Kithure Kindiki suspended the operations of a controversial tech firm citing a lack of safety of public data collected.
Interior CS Kithure Kindiki pointed out that the government would undertake all measures to assure public safety and the integrity of the financial transactions.
"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," directed Kindiki.
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 translate to Ksh7,786.