The IRS will soon require you to use facial recognition to access your taxes online

The Internal Revenue Service will require people who access and pay their taxes online to register with a third-party facial recognition company starting this summer (h/t Krebs on Security). Even those who have already registered with IRS.gov with a username and password will need to provide government ID, a copy of a utility bill, and a selfie to ID.me, the company Virginia-based identity verification company. You’ll take a video selfie with the webcam or mobile device you’re using to register, which seems likely to cause issues for people with older hardware or who don’t have access to it.

According to the IRS, ID.me is a “trusted technology provider” of identity verification services. Anyone who already has an ID.me account from another government agency can log in with those credentials. Brian Krebs created a new ID.me account and wrote in his post that the registration process was time-consuming and problematic. He got stuck halfway through the process and had to start over from the beginning, then was asked to join a video call with an ID.me representative – with a wait time of almost three and a half hours .

In its “Privacy Statement of Rights”, ID.me states that it does not “sell, direct or trade biometric data to third parties or profit from the sale, rental or trade of biometric data” . It may share information with its partners with users’ explicit permission, according to its website, and when you sign up for an ID.me account, you must agree to the company’s biometric consent policy. The company collects facial and voice biometric data to verify identity and protect against fraudulent behavior and to “comply with a request from law enforcement or government entities where not prohibited by law.” And even if you delete your ID.me account, the company may retain your biometric data for several years, depending on “the nature of the data and the relevant legal or operational retention needs”.

You may remember ID.me at the start of the pandemic; more than two dozen states use the company to verify people applying for unemployment benefits. Motherboard reported in June 2021 that ID.me had failed to identify some candidates and that they had difficulty reaching anyone in the company to remedy their problem. ID.me CEO Blake Hall said The edge back when it uses a system similar to Apple’s FaceID or the way a TSA agent would compare a passenger’s face to their ID card at an airport.

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