IRS Wants to Scan Your Face

To access one‘s IRS accounts, online payment filers in the United States will soon be supposed to submit a selfie to a 3rd party identity verification corporation using facial recognition software.

As per an IRS spokesperson, consumers with an IRS.gov profile will no longer be allowed to log in with a basic username and password beginning this summer. To verify one‘s identity, they would have to provide a valid id document, a picture, and replicas of their bills to Virginia-based identity verification firm ID.me.

This transformation, first noticed by Krebs on Protection, represents a significant departure for the Internal Revenue Service, which previously approved consumers to connect their IRS accounts without uploading personal biometric data.

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An IRS spokesman confirmed Gizmodo that users can still get general details from the IRS website without logging in, but they will need to join in through ID.me to start making and view payments, connect tax records, view or start creating payment plans, handle communications preferences, or view tax specialist permissions. Afterward, the IRS spokesperson stated that the data he previously presented was incorrect.

So, here’s how most people would be able to access their IRS online accounts later this year. Users trying to log in to their accounts through ID.me must first set up an account with the corporation by submitting a driver’s license, passport, or passport card.

Customers are then instructed to take a selfie with their smartphone camera or the webcam on their desktop. According to the ID.me website, the firm utilizes a facial expression match face recognition system to confirm that the selfie fits the government document supplied.

Customers can use these qualifications to prove their identity through any of ID.me’s partners if they are approved in ID.me’s process.

If ID.me’s system breaks down to confirm a selfie or detects other problems that could be considered fraudulent, the user can participate in a recorded video call with an ID.me delegate known as a “Trusted Referee.” ID.me claims to have verified more than 2.8 million population using these referees and has started to roll out some in-person identity verification choices across the nation.

IRS
IRS

“ID.me provides various relief valves or break-free hatches to ensure that everyone always has a path forward,” the company said. “We are committed to a ‘No identity left behind’ policy.”

ID.me’s verification system does not work flawlessly. Due to the poor quality of their web camera, one member of Gizmodo’s employees failed to confirm their image. Because they were unable to solve the problem, that person chose to abandon the online system altogether and file their payment by mail.

You have to submit a scanned copy of your driver’s license and also a face scan taken with your phone’s front camera. ID.me will then request your Social Security number and permission to view the information in your credit profile.

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ID.me is quick to distinguish its face match system from the inferior facial recognition authentication process in a white paper shared with Gizmodo.

ID.me assures customers who sign up for an account that the company does not barter, sell, or rent data to third parties, though that does share some information with “select partners.” Users must accept ID.me’s biometric consent policy before uploading their government records.

According to the company’s policy, it gathers both facial biometrics and voiceprints. Furthermore, to verify a user’s information and protect against deceptive practices, the company’s policies state that these biometric identifiers may be used to “comply with a request from law enforcement or government agencies where not banned by law.” If a user chooses to end their connection with ID.me, the company may keep that information for up to seven and a half years.

The IRS officially announced ID.me as a “trusted technology provider” in November, but the firm has been in operation for over a decade. ID.me, which was founded in 2010, has emerged as a market leader in proof of identity, especially among governmental bodies.

Reuters reported last year that at least 27 U.S. states scattered across the country were using the company’s service to vet unemployment claims people applying during the pandemic. States allegedly implemented the new tech to combat an alleged increase in scams.

But even so, in some instances, filers reported that the extra layer of confirmation was making it more difficult to access benefits, particularly for those who were less familiar with advanced technology.

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