U.S. considering alternatives to ID-me technology

U.S. considering alternatives to ID-me technology

The United States Department of the Treasury Headquarters in Washington, D.C. is located at the United States August 29, 2020. REUTERS Andrew Kelly File Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan 28, Reuters - The U.S. Treasury said on Friday it was considering alternatives to facial recognition technology by commercial provider ID.me to verify identities for online taxpayer accounts after some lawmakers raised privacy concerns.

In November of this year the Internal Revenue Service announced that it will transition to ID.me technology for access to online services, including tax records and Child Tax Credit information.

The IRS kicked off its annual tax return filing season and it gained more attention this week by uploading a selfie picture to create an ID.me account.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said on Twitter that he was very disturbed by the prospect of taxpayers submitting to facial recognition.

Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, called the move a very bad idea, saying facial recognition is less accurate with dark skin tones.

The American Civil Liberties Union called ID.me facial recognition technology biased and glitchy. A U.S. Treasury official said on Friday that Treasury and IRS are looking into alternatives to ID.me.

The IRS is always looking for ways to make the filing process more secure, but it is clear that no American is required to take a selfie in order to file their tax return, the department said in a statement.

A spokesman for ID.me could not be reached for comment.

The company said on Monday that it complies with the National Institute of Standards and Technology guidelines to provide three ways to verify identity.

The firm said it provides digital identity services to 10 federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and 30 U.S. states.

Treasury said in its statement that a lack of funding for modernization of IRS information technology systems has forced it to rely on ID.me and other third-party services.