Home South Korea launches investigation into Worldcoin

South Korea launches investigation into Worldcoin

South Korean regulators have launched an investigation into Worldcoin’s handling of private and sensitive data.

After receiving reports of complaints about the collection and processing of these details, the Personal Information Committee announced that they’re looking into the iris biometric cryptocurrency project last Thursday (Feb. 29).

In a press release released today (March. 4) the authorities say they’ll also look at the “overseas transfer of personal information, and if violations are confirmed, it will take action under the relevant laws and regulations.”

The committee has highlighted how “Worldcoin affiliates are currently collecting face and iris recognition information at about 10 locations in Korea.”

The iris scanning technology is used to issue users with a ‘World ID’ which is like a digital identifier. In July of 2023, Worldcoin reported that over 2 million people worldwide had signed up to use World ID.

Privacy concerns over Worldcoin aren’t just being heard in South Korea, with the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) joining other global data protection regulators in scrutinizing the controversial company in August of last year.

The Bavarian State Office for Data Protection Supervision (DPS) in Germany has been scrutinizing the crypto startup since November 2022 and the French National Commission for Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) has questioned them too.

Worldcoin is an identity-focused cryptocurrency project which was co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.

OpenAI’s recent fine in South Korea

This isn’t the first issue OpenAI has had in the South East Asian nation,

The AI research company was fined in 2023 after Korean authorities discovered that personal information from 687 South Korean citizens was leaked via ChatGPT.

The cause of the leak was due to an ‘unknown error (bug) in the open source-based cache solution to increase the speed of the service.’ This resulted in the names, emails, payment addresses, 4 digits of credit card numbers, and expiration dates of some users around the world who accessed ChatGPT Plus being exposed to other users.

Featured image: Photo by zero take on Unsplash

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Sophie Atkinson
Tech Journalist

Sophie Atkinson is a UK-based journalist and content writer, as well as a founder of a content agency which focuses on storytelling through social media marketing. She kicked off her career with a Print Futures Award which champions young talent working in print, paper and publishing. Heading straight into a regional newsroom, after graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Journalism, Sophie started by working for Reach PLC. Now, with five years experience in journalism and many more in content marketing, Sophie works as a freelance writer and marketer. Her areas of specialty span a wide range, including technology, business,…

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