Worldcoin fails to shift ban from Spanish court

Eyeball-scanning crypto project Worldcoin has failed to budge a temporary ban issued by Spain’s High Court last week following concerns over child participation and privacy rights.

Spain’s Data Protection Agency (AEPD) slapped Worldcoin with a temporary three-month ban last Wednesday, prohibiting it from collecting any more personal data or using any data it had already gathered.

Just hours later Worldcoin filed a lawsuit against the ban but on Monday, Reuters reported that the High Court had rejected the request. According to the court, the “safeguarding of the public interest” must prevail, and Worldcoin had made “unsubstantiated assertions.”

Read more: South Korea vows to ‘take action’ if Worldcoin violations are confirmed

Worldcoin claimed that the AEPD was “spreading inaccurate and misleading claims about our technology globally,” and “circumventing established procedures under GDPR.”

“In accordance with the EU regulations pertaining to GDPR enforcement, Worldcoin contributors have regularly responded to BayLDA requests for months while operating lawfully in Spain and select other countries in Europe,” Worldcoin said in response to the ban.

Worldcoin is attracting complaints globally 

Worldcoin is owned by Tools for Humanity and run by OpenAI CEO, Sam Altman. Its goal is to scan the iris of as many people as possible to create a digital ID database. In its venture, the project also offers free crypto in exchange scanning your iris and promises to be able to distinguish humans from AI.

The AEPD said it had received multiple complaints “denouncing insufficient information, collection of data from minors, and preventing the withdrawal of consent, among other infringements,” from Worldcoin.

Indeed, Worldcoin has received a mixed response across the globe with concerns often centered on privacy issues. South Korea launched an investigation last week following complaints about its methods of data collection, and Worldcoin has prompted inquiries from the UK, France, Germany, and Kenya.

In an email, Worldcoin told Protos: “Worldcoin is fully compliant with all laws and regulations governing biometric data collection and data transfer, including Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

“Since our previous attempts to engage AEPD went unanswered, we look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate this compliance and provide the regulator with accurate and important information regarding this essential and lawful technology in the Spanish High Court.”

Despite these concerns, Worldcoin’s WLD token has risen more than 280% in the past month and currently sits at just under $10.

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Edit 18:40 UTC, Mar 12: Updated piece to include comment from Worldcoin.