Controversy Surrounds Worldcoin’s Orb Verification System

Worldcoin faced criticism for collecting sensitive data, including iris scans, prompting debates on ethics and potential dystopian implications.

Controversy Surrounds Worldcoin's Orb Verification System
Controversy Surrounds Worldcoin's Orb Verification System

Moneycontrol reported on December 21st that Worldcoin disabled its offline orb verification function for customers in India, Brazil, and France.

Designed by Worldcoin as a tool for onboarding residents of locations where traditional forms of identification are not always available, the Orb is a multicolored helmet that weighs five pounds and scans the eyeballs of users in order to authenticate their identities.

By delivering awards in USDC to local Orb operators, the company was able to boost the offline onboarding process. Worldcoin started paying out incentives in its native cryptocurrency, which is known as WLD, beginning in the month of November.

According to Moneycontrol, Worldcoin “silently discontinued” the orb verification procedure in India “three to four months ago,” despite the fact that masses were collecting in queues for orb operators in certain regions of the nation.

On the other hand, Tools for Humanity, the nonprofit that is in charge of Worldcoin, emphasized that the Orb was a “limited-time access” effort from the very beginning in India, France, and Brazil. The collection of private information, such as an iris scan, in Worldcoin’s onboarding procedure has sparked a growing number of public debates.

Critics have suggested on multiple occasions that the project, initiated by Sam Altman, the founder of OpenAI, is controversial from an ethical standpoint and has the potential to become a “dystopian nightmare.”

In addition, regulators have expressed their skepticism. The German financial authorities initiated an inquiry into Worldcoin in 2022, and shortly after the project’s debut, the data regulatory agency established in the United Kingdom also threatened to initiate an investigation.

The authorities have implemented a complete and total prohibition on Worldcoin’s operations within Kenya. The security platform CertiK discovered a vulnerability in the vetting processes for Orb operators in August.

An attacker could circumvent the verification process and run an Orb without being questioned or having a valid identification document due to this vulnerability.