Hong Kong bans WorldCoin, but for how long?

Sam Altman’s WorldCoin and its controversial iris-scanning orbs are reportedly set to be kicked out of Hong Kong after being found to violate the city’s privacy laws by a data watchdog. But is the impending regulatory action as bad as it seems?

While the ban from Hong Kong is being celebrated by privacy advocates and Sam Altman distrusters, it may not be a permanent problem for WorldCoin. The reasons for being booted from Hong Kong by the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) include:

  • Relevant privacy notice and biometric data consent forms not being available in Chinese
  • Insufficient transparency of the personal data policy and practices
  • The fact that before the collection of personal data, participants weren’t clearly informed of how the data would be used

These issues all seem like they can be solved relatively simply: By translating instructions and terms of service forms into Mandarin and Cantonese, making policy practices more transparent, and informing any participants exactly how their data will be used.

However, the fact that these solutions are so obvious may point to the real problem for WorldCoin.

Read more: Worldcoin fails to shift ban from Spanish court

Never fixed

The fact that WorldCoin wasn’t already providing terms of service and instructions in Mandarin or Cantonese at its locations in Hong Kong suggests a more sinister reason for getting kicked out of Hong Kong, namely that WorldCoin has — possibly — been purposely providing the least amount of information to users and regulators as possible to take advantage of the biometric data that the public is unaware of.

There are plenty of ways that WorldCoin could work with the Hong Kong PCPD to mitigate risks and provide more transparency so it could offer their iris scanning orbs in Hong Kong again, but will it? It remains to be seen.

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