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The IRS Gets Camera Shy: Agency Ditches Plan to Use Facial Recognition Tech.

Both Democrats and Republicans Warned About Privacy Concerns.


Photo for: The IRS Gets Camera Shy: Agency Ditches Plan to Use Facial Recognition Tech.

Last month, The Drill Down reported on the IRS’ plan to use facial recognition technology for Americans to access certain features on their website. Here’s what we said at the time:

Starting in summer 2022, if you need to login to the IRS’s website to access the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, get your tax transcript or view a payment agreement with the agency, you will need to create an account with third-party identity verification company ID.me,” CNBC reported. “A simple username and password will no longer suffice: You will need to provide a government document with a photo, such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport, and take a video selfie with your smartphone or computer.

A spokesperson for the IRS clarified that taxpayers can still file and pay without the selfie (so they’ll happily take your money without a picture) but beyond the basics, they want to see those pearly whites. “Applying for payment plans” and “monitoring stimulus checks” may require you to bust out the selfie stick.

Good news: that’s not happening. In a rare instance of common sense winning the day, the IRS has decided not to create a database of American faces that would certainly be a target of enemy governments everywhere (China).

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Senate Republicans wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig last week to argue that the move threatened personal privacy and created cybersecurity and oversight risks.”

“The IRS has unilaterally decided to allow an outside contractor to stand as the gatekeeper between citizens and necessary government services,” Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) co-wrote in a letter with other GOP members.

“The government and private companies have an unfortunate history of data breaches…There is ample evidence to be very concerned about an IRS contractor’s ability to safely manage, collect and store this unprecedented level of confidential, personal data,” he added.

And the IRS actually listened.

“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,” Rettig said in a statement on Monday.

So there you have it —you won’t have to get your hair done to submit your taxes.