Because of concerns about how the IRS plans to safeguard biometric data after terminating its contract with ID.me, it collected facial recognition data from 7 million taxpayers using ID.me software.
After only a few months of using facial recognition technology provided by ID.me to authenticate users accessing the IRS’s online services, senior IRS officials briefed the House Oversight Committee last week.
As of November, taxpayers were required to use the ID.me service to verify their identity when accessing certain online data after the IRS signed a $86 million contract with Veterans Tech, the company behind the service.
However, millions of taxpayers had already signed up for ID.me before the contract was cancelled because of concerns about privacy, security, and equitable access to their data.
She wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig on Friday to express concern about the “ongoing impact” on taxpayers who have already provided their biometric data, which Maloney chaired.
It will be at least seven years before the IRS can ask for the deletion of the biometric information of these individuals, according to Maloney, who wrote in a blog post.
Even though the IRS may have sought to terminate this contract, those Americans’ highly personal information may continue to be held by a third party outside of the IRS’s direct control, increasing the potential for exposure due to bad actors and other cybersecurity incidents.
“The potential costs to American taxpayers given the agency’s about-face on this multimillion-dollar contract,” said Maloney, a Democrat from New York.
As a result of the technology’s inability to properly identify users, other people seeking unemployment benefits have been locked out of important systems, the congresswoman said.
“Many people who should have received an ID have had to wait for days or even weeks.
“Trusted referee” that could confirm what technology couldn’t, I, “the text of the article says.
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13 per cent of ID.me users have been unable to authenticate since June, resulting in a call to a customer service representative who would attempt to verify their identity via video chat, Maloney said in the briefing last week.
As she put it, “this technology is virtually unregulated, and increasing transparency and accountability is crucial.”
This contract with Veterans Tech has prompted several questions from the House Oversight Committee, including how the IRS plans to safeguard the data, what has already been spent on the contract and what it would cost to terminate.
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