WorldCoin, in the eye of the hurricane: “We comply with all data protection regulations in Europe

In today's environment there is no doubt that credit must be given to Sam Altman, the man behind OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT and DALL-E. But Altman is also behind a new goal, producing specific microchips for artificial intelligence. And, if this were not enough, he is also the one who leads Worldcoin, the company that intends biometrically identify everyone in exchange for cryptocurrency. And now it is in the eye of the hurricane.

The purpose of Worldcoin is to use images of people's irises to convert them into a code that can be used to identify human beings and differentiate them from, for example, a chatbot. This week we were able to speak via video conference with Ricardo Macieira, Regional Manager for Europe at Worldcoin and understand if we are selling a part of our identity (and how and what it is used for) or if it is another masterstroke by Altman: create an AI, increase demand for microchips, create microchips and develop a way to differentiate humans from robots.

“Our intention is to guarantee that the person can do this proof of humanity, protecting their individuality as much as possiblee – explains Macieira in a remote meeting -. For this we have created Orb, a device that collects images of the iris to generate a code, which is integrated into an encrypted database and is only attributable to that person. The initiative complies with all data protection regulations in Europe.”

According to Macieira, the photo is not stored, Only the generated code is saved and it is what allows the human being to be registered in the identification system. If the person tried to register at another Worldcoin office, the resulting code would be the same and it would be known that that person is already part of the system.

“Technology allows you to demonstrate that you are a human being in the digital world. We do not want to know who he is, we are interested in knowing that he is a unique human,” adds the Worldcoin representative in Europe.

In exchange for the image, 10 of the cryptocurrencies developed for this project, the WLD, are received as compensation. Although Macieira highlights that it is not a purchase, but a way for users to become part of the project. One for whom, supposedly, we do not need to register, just register in the application. “If you don't want to, you don't have to share any data – confirms Macieira -. In addition, at any time you can delete all the data that has been given. We want the person to have complete control over the information they provided. In this sense we comply with all the data protection requirements of the European Union.”

This comment undoubtedly arises from recent complaints, four in total, to the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) regarding Worldcoin's use of the information provided. We must keep in mind that our iris in a unique fingerprint and biometric information is as individual as a medical history. So, if they don't save our irises and pay us for it…What is the business?

“It is a project designed to try to solve one of the biggest challenges that exist in the world today, which is how you can differentiate a human from a bot in the digital world – explains Macieira -. It may seem very simple, but it is not. We have analyzed options such as fingerprint or facial recognition, but the information it provides is not enough to differentiate one human from 100,000. This is how we arrive to the iris: it has enough information to distinguish one human from ten billion”.

And this certainty is the business. Macieira points out that perhaps in the future a coffee chain in Barcelona will want to give everyone in the city a cappuccino. If you want to do it in a completely fair way, one coffee per person, you have to collect data. Clients would have to show their ID or passport, they have to register, put everything in a database. With this system, it would be enough to read the person's code and it would be registered both in the cafeteria and in the user's app and could no longer be used in that promotion. To date there have been registered more than 3 million people around the world, 10% of them in Spain. The number is so high that the app has become, in recent days, the second most downloaded in our country.

As far as we know so far, Worldcoin complies with all data protection regulations in Europe. The company seems solvent, as does its bitcoin, which is trading at around 8 euros, which means that, depending on the day, They pay us between 60 and 90 euros for the scaneither. Iris images are also not stored and are not linked to us except by the app. Which we can delete and “split pears”, so to speak. What is the problem, then?

Sam Altman has created companies worth billions of euros and that, in the near future, will be widely used, both by public organizations and private companies. What we are doing by trading Worldcoin bitcoins (ranked 66th among cryptocurrencies) is creating one of the databases with the greatest future potential that Altman's company is paying for with its own currency. For them, it is a great business that will undoubtedly give profits. What we must remember, when we give valuable personal information, is one of the maxims of the digital economy: “If we are not the customers, it is because we are the product”. As long as we are clear…