Signage outside the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) headquarters in Washington, D.C.
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The IRS on Monday announced it will stop using a controversial third-party service for facial recognition to verify identity for online accounts.
The move comes amid bipartisan backlash over the collection of biometric data through video selfies for account authorization. ID.me, an identity verification company, was contracted by the Treasury Department to improve taxpayer account security.
“We would refer you to the IRS with any questions on this issue,” a spokesperson for ID.me said.
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“The IRS takes taxpayer privacy and security seriously, and we understand the concerns that have been raised,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a statement. “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 IRS said the shift will happen over the coming weeks to limit disruption and these changes won’t interfere with filing taxes or making payments for levies owed.
The agency will work with “cross-government partners” during the transition to create another authentication process, aiming to protect taxpayer data and expand access to online tools, according to the statement.