Portugal has imposed a temporary halt on WorldCoin, a project led by Sam Altman, from collecting biometric data, highlighting growing global concerns over privacy and data protection rights. WorldCoin aims to create a unique digital ID and financial network using facial scans and has registered over 4.5 million individuals across 120 nations. However, the venture faced suspension in Portugal due to concerns raised by the CNPD regarding citizen data protection risks, particularly unauthorized data collection, including minors, consent withdrawal issues, and data deletion.

Jannick Preiwisch, WorldCoin’s Data Protection Officer, expressed surprise at the allegations and assured efforts to rectify reported issues, especially concerning underage participation. Despite facing regulatory scrutiny in Portugal, other countries like Spain and Kenya have also curtailed WorldCoin’s operations over similar concerns about biometric data collection.

Privacy advocates and regulators, including the Bavarian state regulator leading the EU’s investigation into WorldCoin, question the adequacy of protections against potential misuse or breach of personal data. However, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin commended WorldCoin’s efforts to address privacy concerns, highlighting the project’s commitment to evolving with advanced cryptographic solutions.

As WorldCoin navigates regulatory hurdles globally, the debate over digital identity and privacy rights continues to intensify, showing the critical intersection of technology, ethics, and regulation. The suspension in Portugal reflects broader skepticism surrounding biometric data collection, emphasizing the importance of robust data protection measures in emerging technologies.