Finance

IRS allowing taxpayers to opt out of facial recognition technology

The IRS announced Monday that it will allow taxpayers to opt out of using facial recognition technology for identity verification.

Those trying to access their online accounts can instead verify their identity through a live, virtual interview with a representative from a third-party service, ID.me.

The IRS announced earlier this month that it would be transitioning away from ID.me after uproar from lawmakers and digital rights activists over plans to require facial recognition verification to access tax information.

Facial recognition has been found to do consistently worse at identifying people of color, though taxpayers will still be able to use the technology for verification if they so chose.

“No biometric data — including facial recognition — will be required if taxpayers choose to authenticate their identity through a virtual interview,” the IRS said in a statement.

Video selfies uploaded through ID.me by taxpayers will be “permanently deleted” over the next few weeks, the agency said.

The IRS noted that it will work to roll out the government’s Login.Gov as an authentication tool for next tax season.

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