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The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Peru (MINJUSDH) announced last Monday (3), that the National Authority for Personal Data Protection (ANPD) began an investigation into Worldcoin’s operations in the country. The investigation, which began on May 13, aims to verify whether the company’s collection of biometric data violates Peruvian citizens’ data protection laws.

Worldcoin, known for scanning people’s faces and irises in exchange for WLD tokens, is currently operating with seven branches in Peru. Every day, hundreds of people participate in these operations, attracted by curiosity or the promise of tokens. However, Peruvian authorities have been monitoring these activities closely, concerned about possible privacy violations.

According to MINJUSDH, the objective of the investigation is to ensure that the collection of biometric data complies with personal data protection laws. The ministry highlighted the importance of prior consent from citizens before collecting such sensitive data. Biometric data, such as the iris, contains health information that allows a person to be uniquely identified and does not change over the years.

Peru warns of risks of sharing biometric data

MINJUSDH emphasized the risks associated with losing control over biometric data. According to the Ministry, these risks include threats to citizens’ privacy, security, assets and financial stability.

Furthermore, the ANPD recommended that citizens carefully read Worldcoin’s privacy policies. These policies must detail the use of the collected data, the entity responsible for processing it, where it will be stored, with whom it will be shared and the consequences of handing over the data.

Peruvian authorities promise to soon announce the results of the investigations and the measures that will be taken if violations of the Personal Data Protection Law are found.

Other countries are also investigating Worldcoin

The situation in Peru is not unique. Worldcoin has faced similar problems in several jurisdictions. Last year, the company was in Brazil, where it operated in São Paulo and offered volunteers around R$250 in WLD tokens in exchange for scanning their irises. This type of operation also generated investigations in other countries, such as South Korea, Spain and Portugal.

In March, South Korea launched an investigation after receiving complaints about Worldcoin collecting personal information. Spain and Portugal also asked the project to cease collecting biometric data. Additionally, countries including the United Kingdom, Kenya, France and Germany have opened similar investigations due to privacy concerns.

The most recent case occurred in Hong Kong, where the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data ordered Worldcoin to cease all operations in the region for violating local privacy laws. This scenario raises the possibility that Worldcoin could also be banned in Peru, depending on the results of the ongoing investigation.

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