Spain bans Worldcoin’s eye scans

Fears over iris scanning.

Fears over iris scanning. Credit: Oleg Gekman/

How safe is your identity online? Spain’s recent decision on cutting-edge technology raises such questions.

On Wednesday, March 6, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) issued a directive to the Tools for Humanity Corporation, the creators of Worldcoin, demanding a halt, for a three-month period) to their personal data collection activities in Spain. This includes stopping the use of any data they have already gathered.

Privacy concerns trigger action

The regulator’s action came after receiving multiple complaints. Issues ranged from the collection of children’s personal data to the inability of individuals to withdraw their consent for data sharing.

Worldcoin, designed by OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, offers digital IDs through iris scans in return for a digital ID and free cryptocurrency, aiming for a theft-proof form of identification.

Yet, this method, involving devices known as ‘orbs’, has stirred privacy worries, despite the company’s assurances of data protection.

Growing scepticism across borders

As of November 2023, over 360,000 Spaniards have registered with Worldcoin at centres in Barcelona and Madrid, however its popularity has resulted in increasing scrutiny.

Experts fear the potential misuse of sensitive information beyond its intended purpose for secure identification.

This scepticism isn’t confined to Spain, many countries, including France and Germany, are also examining the initiative’s implications for privacy.

Worldcoin defends its practices

In response to the Spanish agency’s demands, Worldcoin insists on the legality and privacy of its operations.

‘The Spanish data protection authority (AEPD) is circumventing EU law with their actions today, which are limited to Spain and not the broader EU, and spreading inaccurate and misleading claims about our technology globally,’ stated Jannick Preiwisch, Worldcoin’s data protection officer.

According to its website, over 4 million people in 120 countries have already agreed to have their irises scanned by Worldcoin.

As debates around digital identity and privacy continue, the balance between innovation and individual rights remains precarious.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • CCW60

      08 March 2024 • 13:57

      EU leading the way to global communism, global slavery.

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