WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury said on Friday it was considering alternatives to commercial provider ID.me’s facial recognition technology to verify the identities of taxpayers’ accounts online after some lawmakers raised privacy concerns.
The Internal Revenue Service announced in November that it would switch this year to identity verification using ID.me technology to access online services, including tax records and credit information. child tax.
The process involves uploading a “selfie” photo to create an ID.me account and drew more attention this week as the IRS kicked off its annual tax filing season.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said on Twitter that he was “very disturbed” by the prospect of taxpayers submitting to facial recognition.
Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California, called the move a “really, really bad idea,” adding that facial recognition is less accurate with darker skin.
The American Civil Liberties Union called the ID.me facial recognition technology “biased” and “glitchy”.
A US Treasury official said Friday that the Treasury and the IRS are exploring alternatives to ID.me.
“The IRS is constantly looking for ways to make the filing process more secure, but to be clear, no American is required to take a selfie to file their tax return,” the department said in a statement.
A spokesperson for ID.me could not immediately be reached for comment.
The company said in a statement Monday that its technology meets National Institute of Standards and Technology guidelines to offer three ways to verify identity.
The company said it provides digital identity services to 10 federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and 30 US states.
The Treasury said in its statement that a lack of funding for modernization of the IRS’ computer systems has forced it to rely on ID.me and other third-party services.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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