Mexico City cafe introduces iris scanning for global digital ID project

Leading the charge in this endeavor is Sam Altman, the CEO of Open AI, accompanied by his cryptocurrency enterprise, Tools for Humanity, propelling the Worldcoin project.

close up view of human green eye with data illustration, robotic concept

Enthusiastic early adopters recently gathered at a café in Mexico City where they underwent iris scanning using a futuristic sphere. This sphere is part of an ambitious project that aims to establish a unique digital identity for every individual worldwide. This effort called the Worldcoin project, is active in around thirty countries, including Mexico.

Led by Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI, and his co-founded crypto company Tools for Humanity, the project aims to create distinct digital identities for individuals globally. The orb’s iris scanning, conducted in about thirty countries, seeks to differentiate humans from bots online, offering participants a cryptocurrency incentive. It captures users’ iris images and converts them into unique numerical codes known as iris codes. These codes are used solely for confirming a user’s identity, with the actual iris images being deleted by default. Despite privacy concerns, project leaders assure that only unique iris codes are retained for identity verification, but critics raise questions about data processing timelines and iris code ownership.

Why does it matter?

While the Worldcoin project could potentially revolutionize online interactions, it raises important ethical questions about data ownership, retention, and the potential for misuse of biometric information. Sharing his perspective on privacy, one of the participants of this project, Jose Incera, who exchanged his iris scan for approximately $54 worth of Worldcoin cryptocurrency, noted that the inevitability of sharing information prevails in the current digital era. This demonstrates that consumers are not opposed to sharing personal information as long as there are tangible benefits they can readily embrace. Ethical data collection, transparency, and ensuring that users fully comprehend the trade-offs are crucial for responsible data-driven practices in the digital age.