Worldcoin’s iris scans raise ethical and legal questions
Its collection of biometric data in exchange for Worldcoin tokens in the name of issuing IDs that let people prove they’re human raises the question of whether such consent holds any validity.
You may have recently noticed people lining up at public places, staring at a metallic orb. This marks the launch of Sam Altman’s new project, Worldcoin, at the intersection of crypto assets, digital identity and artificial intelligence (AI). Worldcoin aims to “become the world’s largest human identity and financial network." Its metallic orb is designed to scan the irises of all 8 billion odd humans and assign each a unique identifier: a World ID. Upon signing up, users are eligible to claim their free share of Worldcoin (WLD) tokens, which is the native crypto token of this protocol. At the time of writing, each token was valued at $1.47. For its founders, World ID solves the issue of “proof of personhood" in the digital economy. Critics, however, fear that this is a formula for dystopia. Crypto assets for biometric information and the creation of private biometric databases raise several legal and policy issues.