Court Rules on Kenyans Data Collected by WorldCoin

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The High Court in Nairobi has issued an injunction barring World Coin from processing any data collected from Kenyans until a case filed against it is heard and determined.

The injunction was issued following a petition filed by the Katiba Institute and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), alleging that WorldCoin collected data against Kenya’s data protection laws.

Justice Jairus Ngaah, on Friday, August 24, acknowledged the arguments by petitioners alleging that WorldCoin failed to ensure adequate protection of data.

“Leave so granted does operate as a stay-restraining the 1st to 5th Respondents from collecting, processing, or transferring the personal biometric data collected in Kenya,” Justice Ngaah ordered.

A photo collage of billionaire Sam Altman making an address in the US on September 2022 (left) and WorldCoin orbs placed outside a supermarket (right).

Photo

Business Insider / WorldCoin

The Judge noted that Kenya, under Section 37(3) of the Data Protection Act and the guidelines filed before the court, required foolproof protection of Kenyans’ data.  

“Leave does issue for Applicants to serve the 1st to 4th Respondents through their Kenyan agents, by email, or registered post.

“For reasons given in the certificate of urgency, I am satisfied that the application for leave is urgent and it is so certified I am also satisfied that the applicants deserve leave to file a motion for judicial review orders,” Justice Ngaah ordered.

Justice Ngaah made an observation of the petitioners’ prayers, noting that based on the material before the court, it is possible that the personal biometric data collected from Kenyans was exposed.

“From exposure by the 1st to 5th respondents, leave granted shall operate as stay in terms of prayer 3 of the summons pending the bearing and determination of the substantive motion,” the ruling read in parts.

The court also ordered that the substantive motion be filed and served within seven days of the date of this ruling, Thursday, August 24.

It was ordered that WorldCoin, which is the 1st respondent, be served by way of substituted service, by advertisement in any of the daily newspapers of national circulation.

The respondents and interested parties shall file and serve their response within seven days of the applicant’s motion’s service date.

“Directions on the manner of disposal of the applicants’ substantive motion shall be taken on September 25,” Justice Ngaah ordered.

A collage of Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki (left) and an orb used by Worldcoin (right)

Photo

Ministry of Interior/Worldcoin

In their petition, Katiba Institute and the Law Society of Kenya claimed that WorldCoin obtained authorisation to operate in Kenya through misrepresentation or material non-disclosure contrary to section 19(2) of the Act and Regulation 5 and 16 of the Data Protection.

In other developments, Peter Kaluma, Homa Bay Town MP, was selected among 15 lawmakers to investigate WorldCoin’s activities in Kenya. 

Other MPs selected in the committee formed by Moses Wetangula, National Assembly Speaker, were Gabriel Tongoyo (Narok West MP), Mburu Kahangara (Lari), Caroline Ng’elechei (Elgeyo Marakwet), and Sara Korere (Laikipia North). 

John Kiarie (Dagoretti South), Geoffrey Wandeto (Tetu), Gideon Kimaiyo (Keiyo South), Shakeel Shabbir (Kisumu East), nominated MP Irene Mayaka, Kareke Mbiuki (Maara), Geoffrey Ruku (Mbeere North), Edwin Gichuki (Mathioya), Ruweida Obo (Lamu East), and Innocent Maino Mugabe (Likuyani) wrapped up the list. 

Wetangula tasked the team to table its findings in 42 days. 



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