Fears of illegal data mining craze by an American Artificial Intelligence (AI) firm Worldcoin has gathered pace after the government directed Immigration Services Department and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to intercept the group’s associates, foreign or Kenya forthwith.
Through a joint ministerial statement by the Ministry of Interior and that of ICT presented in the National Assembly yesterday, the House was told that progress has been made in identifying Worldcoin associates in the country and a foreign national said to have activated the firm’s Kenyan operations.
The statement by Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and his ICT counterpart Eliud Owalo revealed that Worldcoin had not been registered as a legal entity in the country.
The firm enlisted Sense Marketing, a Kenyan entity, to carry out its data capture activities that entailed scanning irises of those who turned up for registration in exchange of crypto tokens.
“Preliminary investigations reveal that the entity has hired a company in Kenya called Sense Marketing to do the data capture for them in the country.” A statement presented by House Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah read in part.
It identified Emmanuel Otieno (Operations Chief) and Rael Mwende (Country Manager) as Worldcoin’s local representatives.
Kindiki and Owalo also identified Poitr Piwowarczyk, a foreign national said to have entered the country multiple times including on June 11, 2023 before departing on June 25, as a key associate.
“Government has commenced investigations to ensure that Worldcoin complies with the data collection, storage and sharing principles. Immediate mitigation steps being undertaken are constitution of a multi-agency team comprising of security, financial services and data protection agencies have commenced inquiries.” The joint statement read in part.
The Cabinet Secretaries said the Immigration Department had been instructed to stop any persons of interest from leaving the country without clearance by DCI.