The IRS is planning to transition away from using facial recognition technology provider ID.me to verify IRS.gov accounts, according to Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
“The Treasury Department has made the smart decision to direct the IRS to transition away from using the controversial ID.me verification service, as I requested,” said Sen. Wyden said in a Feb. 7 memo. “I understand the transition process may take time, but I appreciate that the administration recognizes that privacy and security are not mutually exclusive and no one should be forced to submit to facial recognition to access critical government services.”
Sen. Wyden had requested that the IRS end the use of private facial recognition in a Feb. 7 letter after privacy and civil rights advocates raise concerns about the use of facial recognition in verifying taxpayers’ accounts and access tax information online.
“The IRS does not use facial recognition for tax filing or to receive a refund, and the agency should not require facial recognition for any of the other important services it provides taxpayers,” Sen. Wyden wrote. “The IRS should take immediate steps to address the many valid concerns that have been raised by taxpayers about its use of facial recognition technology.”
IRS doesn’t require use of the facial recognition system to e-file tax returns, but users have reported hours-long waits to complete the verification process.