Taxpayers will soon be required to use facial recognition to log in to their online accounts, according to the IRS. ID.me, a third-party company, will require users to submit a mix of documents as well as a video selfie to authenticate their identity.
Last week, the proposal was brought to the notice of the information security site Krebs on Security.
The IRS stated in a statement that further verification will not be necessary to file taxes or make a payment, as reported by CNBC. Beginning in summer 2022, taxpayers will be required to use the service to view payment history, set up a payment plan, and access the Child Tax Credit Portal. Additional services will switch to ID.me “over the next year,” according to a press release issued by the agency in November 2021.
Even the most tech-savvy people may find the process difficult, as Brian Krebs of the Krebs on Security site observed. Krebs describes how he had to re-enter his personally identifiable information numerous times before being asked to join a video conference and was informed the wait time would be over 3 hours in his post regarding the ID.me system.
ID.me isn’t the first government organization to employ it. In 2021, certain states, such as Colorado and New York, began using the service to identify unemployment benefit recipients. Due to access restrictions, some applicants have reportedly been delayed for months.
Government agencies are attempting to strengthen security in the areas of unemployment and tax filings in the expectation of curbing the rise in fraud. Privacy groups, on the other hand, are unhappy that the IRS is compelling citizens to send over personal information to a private firm.
However, ID.me claims that their technique is not like facial recognition software that needs to be sorted through millions of photos to find a match. The company refers to its system as “face match” in a public white paper, describing it as “more like the system your phone uses to verify your face than facial recognition technology that can pick out a single face in a crowd.” Experts have criticized these systems, such as the one employed by Clearview AI, because they are occasionally used by government agencies.
ID.me does not sell or trade biometric data, according to their website. However, they do share it with “trusted entities,” and if you terminate your account, the corporation can store your data for another seven and a half years.