- Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and his ICT counterpart Eliud Owalo have been handed a tight deadline of seven days to provide substantive answers on the cryptocurrency data mining scandal involving Worldcoin.
- In a resolute tone, Kindiki affirmed the government's commitment to a swift and thorough investigation.
- In a parallel assurance, Interior CS Owalo emphasized the multi-agency team's dedication to determining whether the Worldcoin mining data project posed a threat to national security.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and his ICT counterpart Eliud Owalo have been handed a tight deadline of seven days to provide substantive answers on the cryptocurrency data mining scandal involving Worldcoin.
The ultimatum was issued by National Assembly speaker Wetangula, who called for clear explanations regarding the company's registration process, data security breaches, and measures taken to protect the mined data.
The two Cabinet Secretaries appeared before the National Assembly to address concerns about the illicit data mining activities carried out by the foreign company within the country's borders.
The lawmakers posed pressing questions, demanding explanations for the perceived security lapse and the government's delayed response to the issue.
Wetangula underlined the importance of transparency and accountability, urging the ministers to shed light on the authorization process of the foreign company's operations.
"Please when responding you should give details of who licensed these people to operate in the country and more so from KICC which is a public facility," Wetangula stated, emphasizing the need for clarity.
Kindiki faced intense scrutiny from lawmakers, who sought clarification on the nation's security and the government's actions in response to the scandal.
Assuring the assembly of the seriousness of the situation, Kindiki revealed, "Crimes were committed; Crimes against the data protection act, crimes against the privacy of Kenyans and the crimes against the penal code have been committed and we will get all those involved so they can face justice."
In a resolute tone, Kindiki affirmed the government's commitment to a swift and thorough investigation.
He stated the intention to involve international cooperation to bring individuals located beyond Kenyan borders to account for their actions.
Kindiki stressed the importance of obtaining proper consent from citizens for data processing.
”The processors of data must obtain consent from Kenyans in line with our Data Protection Act. If any consent was sought, which was doubtful, it was not acknowledged consent from Kenyans,” Kindiki stated.
The Ministry of Interior, in response to the scandal, issued an order to freeze the movement of all involved parties into and out of the country. Kindiki clarified the government's stance, comparing the issue's gravity to that of terrorism and other major crimes.
"By the time government is coming in, we must have reasonable information that crimes have been committed. This issue is a serious threat just like terrorism, banditry and the sale of drugs and also just like those who want to intimidate us to use politics to commit crimes," Kindiki explained.
While reassuring citizens of their safety, Kindiki emphasized the need for vigilance in both physical and digital spaces.
"Kenya is safe. But I urge Kenyans that even as we go forward in the technological world we must be alert to the fact that the risks in the physical space are the same in the digital space,” he said.
In a parallel assurance, Interior CS Owalo emphasized the multi-agency team's dedication to determining whether the Worldcoin mining data project posed a threat to national security.
He recognized the global significance of data and the potential risks associated with foreign entities' interests in such data.
"Globally, data is the new oil and we cannot block our eyes from the interest in our data by foreign entities," Owalo said.
Owalo aimed to ascertain whether the data mining project was an attack on the nation.
Furthermore, Owalo discussed the monetary inducements associated with the data mining project and clarified the government's actions.
"At no point has there been a disparity in the position I took and the action by the Interior CS. I explained that at the point of registration they had met the bare minimum requirements as a data collection firm but.in the course of operationalisation, certain issues on policy, laws and regulations emerged and in the course of the day government took action on them,” the ICT CS said.
The cryptocurrency data mining scandal's transparency concerns have reverberated globally, with similar questions raised in France, India, Germany, the UK, and other countries.
As the ministers prepare to respond comprehensively within the week, the nation watches eagerly for more insights into the intricate details of the Worldcoin controversy.