Members of the National Assembly have censured Information, Communication and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo for misleading the country on the status of Worldcoin’s activities in Kenya.
Members of the ad hoc commission investigating the Worldcoin issue, in a report tabled in the House on Thursday, said the SC’s actions “constituted acts of espionage and a threat to the state.”
They now want the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to investigate two foreign companies associated with Worldcoin – Tools for Humanity (TFH) Corp and Tools for Humanity (TFH) Gmbh for operating illegally in the country. The committee chaired by Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo also wants Parliament to harmonize laws aimed at regulating the cryptocurrency regime in the country. The commission, in its findings, noted that “the above statement was inconsistent with the SC submission of September 11, 2023.
“In the said submission, the SC noted that Worldcoin started collecting data in public places on May 31, 2021 and applied for registration as a data controller in Kenya on August 22, 2022, one year after the start of its operations. activities in Kenya, contrary to the data. Protection Act 2019,” the committee’s findings read.
The committee’s investigations were sparked by a public outcry over Worldcoin’s questionable activities, which included extracting data from Kenyans by scanning their irises in exchange for cryptocurrency tokens worth 7,000 shillings as inducement.
The iris scanning was carried out using the Orb, a telecommunications device capable of transmitting real-time iris images converted into digital code to third-party Worldcoin servers hosted outside the country. While castigating Mr Owalo, the commission took note of the SC’s remarks during an interview with NTV on August 2, 2023. The report notes that during the interview with NTV, the SC said: “Regarding the Data Act 2019, Worldcoin acts in compliance with the law.”
The committee notes that when asked to respond to his “conflicting statements” during his appearance before the committee, the SC denied his own statement.
“The SC denied these statements in plenary and during the work of the ad hoc committee, claiming that it had no knowledge of the statements mentioned, while it was in the public domain that it made these statements in an interview with NTV.”
The Office of the Data Protection Commission (ODPC) became aware of this, wrote to the entity and had several meetings. We will approach this question using a multifaceted approach…”
Worldcoin camped in 30 locations in Nairobi, including shopping malls and educational institutions, and began collecting data in May 2021 before registering as a data controller, contrary to the Data Protection Act. data.
“The Orbs have not been subject to type approval by the Kenya Communications Authority, contrary to Kenya’s Information and Communications (Importation, Type Approval and Distribution of Equipment) Regulations. communication) of 2010,” the report states.
Despite Worldcoin’s claim that the collected data was securely stored in South Africa-based Amazon Web Services, it was unclear whether the data could be retracted and deleted when needed.
This transfer of personal data out of Kenya did not comply with section 48 of the Data Protection Act.
To guard against this, MPs want legislative intervention to govern the collection of biological data from Kenyans “which has implications for privacy, security, health concerns and human rights”.
Mr. Alex Blania, while appearing before the ad hoc committee, said that by the time Worldcoin operations were suspended by the government on August 2, 2023, about 350,000 Kenyans had registered. The committee found Tools for Humanity Corp and Tools for Humanity GmbH, Germany, and their associates guilty of violating Kenyan laws, including the Data Protection Act, the Consumer Protection Act and the Consumer Protection Act. computer misuse and cybercrime. Worldcoin’s activities also flouted Regulation 24 of the Kenya Information and Communications (Importation, Type Approval and Distribution of Communication Equipment) Regulations, 2010.
“Both companies do not appear in the Business Registration Services database of businesses or companies registered in Kenya and therefore do not have the legal mandate to transact business in Kenya in accordance with the provisions of the Kenya Act. companies of 2015″, established the committee.
The committee found that despite collecting data on behalf of Worldcoin, Sense Marketing Ltd and other local partners were not registered as data processors or controllers, as required by Article 18 of the data protection law.
The committee wants Parliament to harmonize the Data Protection Act with specific parts of the Companies Act to “expressly require foreign companies to provide proof of registration with local regulators before register as data processors or data controllers. The committee wants the requirement for full disclosure on how controllers and processors will use and store personal and sensitive data collected in Kenya to be enshrined in law. In addition, he wants the law to be amended to give the ODPC discretionary power in imposing administrative fines, by amending Article 63 of the Data Protection Act “to align with standards to ensure that entities take data protection issues seriously.
There is also a push for the creation of a board where the commissioner would report on its day-to-day operations. If the committee’s report is adopted as is, tax remission procedures for taxes imposed on transactions involving virtual assets will be required under the Income Tax Act.