«Chile is vulnerable to projects like Worldcoin due to lack of data protection»

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The lack of protection of biometric data is a vulnerability in the Chilean State. A situation that also gives rise to cryptocurrency projects such as Worldcoin having free access to their operations in that country, according to what is indicated by cybersecurity specialists. Alejandro Barros, an academic at the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Chile, explained in a podcast this week that in his country There is no legislation that can protect users who gave their biometric traits to Worldcoin. Indeed, in Chile there is the Data Protection Law (N°19,628), enacted in 1999, which has gone through various modifications. However, it has not been considered, until now, for the protection of biometric data. Mauricio Bascur, a Chilean lawyer, told local media that biometric identification data does not have protection in that country. He maintains that in the current law “there is no clarity” regarding private information, what makes the nation vulnerable because “it can generate many conflicts currently and in the future.” Bascur is the defense attorney for the Lagos family, who filed a lawsuit in March of this year against Worldcoin, because that company scanned his 17-year-old daughter's iris, without the consent of their representatives. Both Barros and Bascur agree that “it is not known” what Worldcoin does with biometric data that they take in the scanners, nor the treatment that that information receives. Barros argues biometric identification is so important “that it could be misused for a lot of negative things.” This, considering that with that information “you already have a person associated with you.” “The problem is the misuse that can be given to this data,” he said. As he sees it, from iris data It is possible to impersonate a person, and this is because the iris code “is a very robust identification mechanism because it does not degrade over time and is unique” (…) which allows it to be associated with an individual.” In fact, the Worldcoin project itself knows that the iris can be faked through high-resolution images. As Tiago Sada, product and engineering leader at Tools For Humanity, the company behind Worldcoin, said, “the human iris can be scanned, even through photographs posted on social networks.”

Chile is an important point for Worldcoin

Chile is one of the countries in which Worldcoin, 1% of the entire population has already scanned their irises and obtained a handful of WLD tokens. The rise of this project has been so great that the country's authorities inspected premises where Worldcoin obtained the biometric data of Chilean users. During these visits, they determined some shortcomings. One of the weaknesses is that there is no control to determine if a person who scans her iris is of legal age. Something that validates the lawsuit of the Lagos family, which before the Court of Appeals of Santiago, indicated that Worldcoin put the constitutional rights of the teenage daughter at risk. For Alejandro Barros, from the University of Chile, if the data of a minor is taken, the company behind Worldcoin is breaking the law because this action does not have the consent of his parents. “It is also not clear how this issue is being handled, because consent has to be informed,” she indicated. The alert in Chile regarding the taking of biometric data from minors, was also felt in Spain and Portugal. Both countries on the Iberian Peninsula decided to cease Worldcoin operations due to complaints of teenagers going to the Orbs (iris scanner) to submit their features. Worldcoin, in its defense, has publicly stated that its project does not accept minors. And they even claimed to have recently imposed an age verification protocol at iris scanning centers.

Even so, Worldcoin does not escape the scrutiny of at least 10 countries of the world. All concerned about the processing of users' biometric data. Until now, Chile, Mexico, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Kenya, Nigeria, Argentina, Spain, South Korea and Portugal all eyed Worldcoin, although not precisely to be scanned, but to be monitored.

The alert issued by cybersecurity specialists about Chile is a reminder that countries have to implement a regulatory infrastructure that can protect individuals' biometric data. This, taking into account that Worldcoin is not the only project that is using this information.