The IRS Abandons ID.me Facial Recognition

Following public criticism from privacy advocates and bipartisan lawmakers, the IRS has abandoned ID.me.

The IRS has had enough of seeing your face.  The IRS has abandoned its use of third-party facial recognition software ID.me after facing criticism from privacy advocates and both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

What happened?

The IRS announced in November that all taxpayers would be required to submit documents and a video selfie to third-party firm ID.me by summer 2022 in order to use the agency's website.

ID.me had been used by the IRS, in a limited capacity, previously.   In addition,  it’s also used for unemployment services by 30 states. But the agency's use of the facial recognition software came under more scrutiny on January 24, as this year’s tax season kicked off.

The Issues With ID.me:

  • Taxpayers who do not have a smartphone or a web camera may find it difficult to use this system..
  • Facial recognition technology has been challenged for misidentifying persons of color, gender-nonconforming individuals, and females.
  • ID.me keeps a database of user images because it uses “one-to-many” matching.
  • The terms of service grant ID.me the right to share the data it collects with “select partners", including the police and government.

The Takeaway

The IRS claims that its shift away from ID.me will occur in the coming weeks, and it will have no impact on tax filings.

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