𝐀𝐃 𝐇𝐎𝐂 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐌𝐈𝐓𝐓𝐄𝐄 𝐎𝐅 𝐈𝐍𝐐𝐔𝐈𝐑𝐘 𝐈𝐍𝐓𝐎 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐖𝐎𝐑𝐋𝐃𝐂𝐎𝐈𝐍 𝐓𝐎𝐋𝐃 𝐓𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐌𝐈𝐍𝐎𝐑𝐒 𝐌𝐀𝐘 𝐇𝐀𝐕𝐄 𝐔𝐍𝐃𝐄𝐑𝐆𝐎𝐍𝐄 𝐈𝐑𝐈𝐒 𝐒𝐂𝐀𝐍
The companies contracted by Worldcoin to undertake the iris scans and data collection from Kenyans could have harvested critical information from underage Kenyans, due to lack of clear guidelines on Worldcoin registration guidelines. This is according to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the subsidiary Company - Sense Marketing - Mr. Kevin Olende.
The Committee chaired by Hon. Gabriel Tongoyo (Narok West) sought clarification from the company on the role they played in the controversial data harvesting from Kenyans. The Company is one of the 20 subsidiary companies contacted by Worldcoin to undertake data collection and processing.
“You were scanning irises without any signed consensual agreements from the Kenyans who turned up for registration. How do you know if you were dealing with minors or not, now that you claim you were not collecting any other data?” Hon. John Kiarie (Dagoretti South).
The CEO acknowledged that there is a possibility that minors were also scanned by the orb as there were no signed contracts with the subjects.
He claimed that his engagement with Worldcoin started in October 2022, and continued operations despite there being directives from the Data Commissioner to cease and desist operations after concerns were raised. But insisted that at no point were they told by Worldcoin that they would be collecting any data from anyone, beyond scanning irises.
“In law, ignorance is no defense, why did you agree to enter into an engagement with a company you know very well is not registered to operate in Kenya. Why did you continue working with Worldcoin, even after their registration was revoked and were told to cease and desist from activities?” asked Hon. Irene Mayaka (Nominated).
In his response Mr. Olende said, “as per our agreement with Worldcoin, our role was to recruit a team of agents to recruit people to register with Worldcoin, thereafter we operated the orb that scanned the irises, purely to verify humanity. As per our understanding, the orb was not meant to store any data, therefore we were not collecting any data.”
Members sought to know if as Sense Marketing, they understood the existing laws before undertaking the assignment given to them by Worldcoin.
“Do you have an understanding of the Data Protection Act and its provisions? Did you observe any of the provisions in your handling of Kenyans? Did you establish if the orb is a telecommunication device, and did you confirm it had undergone all the safety checks before being put to use, and how did they get clearance to be used here?” asked Homa Bay MP, Hon. Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town).
The CEO told the Committee that despite being a Communications and Marketing Company, they were contracted by Worldcoin only as orb operators and not their local representatives in the data harvesting project.