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MPs grill Data Commissioner over World Coin saga

Data Protection Commissioner Immaculate Kassait

Data Protection Commissioner Immaculate Kassait now says the data firm World Coin ignored orders to cease data collection from her office. 

Appearing before the National Assembly ICT Committee, Data Commissioner Immaculate Kassait told MPs that World Coin irregularly mined data from Kenyans. 

Channel 1

The committee was seeking answers on the collection of private citizens’ data by Worldcoin since 31st May 2021, before the matter was raised in the media this year as a concern, owing to the long queues of citizens’ whoze data was being harvested in exchange for money.

Among the questions the legislators were raising included whether the data commissioner was aware of the foreign company’s activities, the legal framework under which worldcoin is operating in Kenya, who authorized the collection of data from Kenyans, whether there was an agreement between the office and Worldcoin on the modalities covering data collection, and how the collected data would be safeguarded from misuse by third parties.

Kassait was however at pains to explain why an initial certificate of registration was issued to a company whose activities were banned in America.

The Data Commissioner claimed that World Coin was issued with a letter of cease  and desist in May 2023, but went on to carry out its data capture activities that entailed scanning irises of those who turned up for registration in exchange of crypto tokens. 

The MPs took Kassait to task over okaying the registration of World Coin company thus exposing Kenyans.

A multi-agency investigation is ongoing with the conclusion of the investigation expected within 90 days. 

According to Kassait investigations done thus far have not ascertained the number of  Kenyans whose data was captured by the World Coin Project.

Interior CS Prof Kithure Kindiki and his information counterpart Eliud Owalo are also expected to appear before parliament to explain how and why World Coin was allowed in the country.

 

 

 

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