Source: Kenn Abuya/ Techcabal

Local ICT authorities lacked legal backing to manage the operations of WorldCoin. Now, the Communications Authority (CA) wants regulatory sandboxes to police new technology.

Kenya’s Communications Authority (CA) has suggested establishing regulatory sandboxes to oversee new technologies like digital currencies. The Authority’s suggestion comes amid scrutiny of WorldCoin’s approval to collect biometric information from Kenyans. Tools for Humanity, which owns WorldCoin, collected critical biometric information by offering a token worth KES 7,000 ($50).

“There is a need to develop an appropriate overarching legal framework for regulation on new and emerging technologies, including digital platforms, social media, and Over-the-Top services,” said Ezra Chiloba, CA’s director-general. The limitations of the existing laws were showcased last month when it emerged that WorldCoin had been registered as a data processor in Kenya. The licence allowed Tools for Humanity to onboard Kenyans onto its system using iris scanning machines.

When it became apparent that these activities were not fully compliant with data privacy laws, Kenya’s ICT ministry, among other agencies, argued that WorldCoin’s licence did not grant any authority to collect personal data. “The licence does not in any manner endorse an entity’s compliance with the Data Protection Act or its subsidiary regulations, nor is it a valid license for an organisation to operate In Kenya,” Eliud Owalo, Kenya’s ICT cabinet secretary, argued.

The Kenyan parliament also criticised data commissioner Immaculate Kassait over the WorldCoin controversy, accusing her of failing Kenyans. The WorldCoin iris-data collection activity raised concerns about data privacy and government involvement in digital identities. Kassait defended her office, arguing it issued an order to stop WorldCoin’s operations. In what can be seen as a failure to execute the mandate of the office of that data protection commissioner, Kassait said that she was not aware that Worlcoin was breaking privacy laws and only received that information after public outcry.

WorldCoin has halted its activities in Kenya. It is also unclear what will happen to the already collected biometric data, although Owalo promised to explain it to parliament a few weeks ago.

Source: Kenn Abuya/ Techcabal