The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is set to implement facial recognition technology that taxpayers must comply with in order to access certain tax records.
According to The Daily Caller, the new technology forces users to sign onto the official IRS website using a third-party firm called ID.me, which requires a facial recognition scan. Subsequently, users must provide a form of government-issued identification along with a photograph alongside a selfie so that they can confirm their identity.
The IRS’s partnership with ID.me was first announced back in November, with IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig stating that “identity verification is critical to protect taxpayers and their information.”
“The IRS has been working hard to make improvements in this area,” Rettig continued, “and this new verification process is designed to make IRS online applications as secure as possible for people.”
An IRS spokesperson later clarified that facial scans would be needed to access tax records, payment plans, and the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, but would not be necessary in order to file taxes.
“The IRS emphasizes taxpayers can pay or file their taxes without submitting a selfie or other information to a third-party identity verification company,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Tax payments can be made from a bank account, by credit card or by other means without the use of facial recognition technology or registering for an account.”
Nevertheless, the onset of such invasive technology has raised alarms with some privacy advocates, including Caitlin George, the campaign director for Fight for the Future.
“This announcement signals one of the largest expansions of facial recognition technology in the U.S. and there is no question that it will harm peoples’ privacy and ability to successfully complete their taxes,” said George. “This will essentially create a new, massive database for law enforcement to use to track people without their knowledge.”