Worldcoin has recently made several claims on Twitter regarding World ID, iris scans, personal identification, user privacy and data security.
The first tweet claimed about using ZK proofs to protect privacy which in my opinion means it hashes data and erase the original iris scans. The second tweet showed how-an on-board computer on the Orb verified a person’s human-ness on the spot and does not need to transfer any data. The third tweet claimed that World ID cannot be linked by any third party to a person’s personal attributes.
Table of Contents
1. ZK Proofs to Protect Privacy (Aug 18, 2023)
ZK Proofs are scaling solutions that improve L1’s speed by computing L1 transactions off the L1 chain and submitting a hash proof to ensure that the data has not been tampered. Since a summary of transactions is submitted at the end of each block, it is impossible for L2s to do some mischief without affecting the hash results.
Similarly, it can be inferred from the above information that Worldcoin stores some kinds of hashes of iris scans and issued World ID based on them. But, then Edward Snowden also pointed out, iris scans can be still matched with World ID data and attributed to a person.
2. On-board Computer Helps Instant Verification without Sharing, Uploading or Transferring Data (Aug 18, 2023)
A few days later, Worldcoin’s twitter page shared that the Orb, a device it uses to scan iris data for World ID, does not need to store images, or upload them somewhere. Its on-board computer instantly runs several neural networks (AI) that help verify the human-ness of a person. All of these take place on the spot.
However, it did not clarify whether it was actually storing some kind of data with it for whatsoever purpose.
3. Worldcoin Enabled World ID with Anonymous Usage (Aug 24, 2023)
The latest clarification came on Aug 24, when Worldcoin’s twitter page again shared that the World ID does not store iris images or iris code. It also said that third parties are not able to link a person’s real life.
Ever since its conception, Worldcoin was criticized by several people including Edward Snowden about its collection of iris scans. However, Worldcoin did not respond adequately on such allegations.
Worldcoin is currently facing heat in several countries due to its data collection methods such as Germany, UK, France and other jurisdictions.
The criticisms also turned into regulator action as it was forced to shut operations in Kenya.