The IRS is backtracking on its plans to require facial recognition to access online accounts, following backlash from security and privacy experts.
The IRS announced in mid-January that it was partnering with ID.me, with plans to require facial recognition for users accessing their online accounts. As Krebs on Security documented, the process involved in setting up facial ID was relatively complicated. Meanwhile, security experts and customers worried about the implications of people’s biometric data being collected.
According to The New York Times, the Treasury Department is now abandoning the plan, despite awarding ID.me an $86 million contract.
“The I.R.S. takes taxpayer privacy and security seriously, and we understand the concerns that have been raised,” said Charles P. Rettig, the agency commissioner. “Everyone should feel comfortable with how their personal information is secured, and we are quickly pursuing short-term options that do not involve facial recognition.”
The agency is evidently working on an alternative method of identification that will not involve facial recognition, although it’s unclear at this time what that method may be.