Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary, Kithure Kindiki, has revealed that the United States (US) government played a role in preventing the detention of American citizens associated with the Worldcoin project within Kenyan borders.
This revelation came to light during Cabinet Secretary Kithure’s testimony before an ad hoc committee of the Kenyan National Assembly, which has undertaken the task of investigating Worldcoin’s activities within the country.
This unfolding case brings into focus the intricate legal and diplomatic intricacies surrounding the crypto project and the international ramifications it has triggered.
The ongoing controversy enveloping Worldcoin in Kenya is now under scrutiny by a parliamentary committee, chaired by Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo, specifically tasked with probing the project’s operations in the nation.
Anticipated to present its findings by 28 September, this committee will shed light on the involvement of Tools for Humanity (TFH), a US-registered organisation, and its German counterpart, TFH (Gmbh), in the crypto initiative.
Kenyan Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure disclosed that attempts were made to detain Alex Blania and Thomas Scott, TFH’s legal spokesman, as they departed the country via Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
However, the intervention of the US government led to their release, with the US government asserting that these individuals had not been convicted of any crimes and should not be held without due process.
Cabinet Secretary Kithure expressed:
“They tried to leave the country but were stopped and put in custody. Howveer, the US government intervened saying they should be allowed to leave because they ahven’t yet been found guilty of committing a crime and gave an undertaking that it will produce them when required.”
Cabinet Secretary Kithure also informed the committee that Kenyan authorities have recovered “Orbs” and other electronic devices used for iris data collection, a crucial element of the Worldcoin project.
These devices have been submitted for analysis to the Communications Authority and the cyber forensic laboratory.
The analysis seeks to determine the precise number of Kenyan individuals whose sensitive personal data was collected through the Worldcoin project, assess the functionality of the devices, consider potential health implications, and determine their authorisation status for use in Kenya.
Cabinet Secretary Kithure pointed out his concerns:
“What worries me is the kind of data that was mined in the country. Scanning of irises is deeply intrusive and experts believe that it has biological consequences that could be disastrous…It is a plausible ground for money laundering and terrorism financing to move assets around without detection and therefore hurting the country…the government suspects that cryptocurrency could expose the country to illicit cash flows because it is not a legal tender and therefore falls outside the ambit of the Central Bank of Kenya.”
It is worth noting that the challenges faced by Worldcoin in Kenya are not isolated, as similar inquiries into the biometrics protocol are concurrently underway in other nations, including Germany and Argentina.
These international investigations underscore the global implications of Worldcoin’s activities and raise pertinent questions about the project’s impact and the safeguarding of personal data in an increasingly interconnected world.
Worldcoin’s latest update on X had nothing to do with Kenya’s concerns. Instead, it posted about the World App updates.