picks up Washington benefits contract amid scrutiny

Washington’s Department of Employment Security is set to be the latest state agency to deploy facial biometrics and’s remote identity verification system to authenticate people applying. benefits, reports the Seattle Times via TechXplore.

The rollout follows an earlier pilot in 2021, which was launched after Washington officials counted $1.6 million in fraudulent benefit claims in March and April 2020.

The state agency is still working out the details of the rollout, but has sought to assure the public of its responsible approach to privacy and data security.

“We take data security and privacy very seriously,” ESD public affairs director Nick Demerice told The Times. “We will assess all information to ensure that we are implementing this verification tool in a safe and responsible manner. We understand the need to balance the competing priorities of applicant security, ease of use and fraud prevention. »

As the saga with’s IRS contract continues to unfold in the media, Business Insider reports that the company’s contract with Veterans Affairs leaves hundreds of people without access to their deserved benefits. This assessment is based on the discovery of some 700 complaints about the identity verification service to the Department of Veterans Affairs during the four months of October 2021 to January 2022.

Some of the complaints come from people trying to exercise power of attorney or help veterans who are in hospital or unfamiliar with using technology for remote processes. Issues have also been reported by overseas veterans and based on technical errors, and some users have reported unexplained rejections.

No facial biometrics for the GSA. . . again

The U.S. Federal General Services Administration (GSA), which operates the service that the IRS is considering adopting as an alternative to, isn’t ready to start using facial biometrics just yet. , GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan said during FedScoop’s IT module. Talks.

Carnahan acknowledged widespread issues with intended recipients of government benefits being rejected or forced to wait interminably during the pandemic, but suggested that facial recognition doesn’t yet seem effective enough for the GSA.

“That’s not to say that over time it won’t get better and we can’t move on to that,” says Carnahan. “But at the moment the team was unconvinced that this could be rolled out in a fair way for everyone and provide equitable access. So we decided not to.

Article topics

biometrics | facial biometrics | fraud prevention | government purchases | | identity verification | integration | remote authentication | United States Government

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