US taxpayers do not have to provide facial scans to create an online account on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. The federal agency has announced that taxpayers can opt for a live video interview with ID.me, a privately held Virginia company. The company is also responsible for the security of the IRS’s identity proofing model. However, the agency said that ID.me’s previously shared biometric data will be permanently deleted. In his article for Krebs on Security, Brian Krebs shares what this decision can mean for taxpayers. He also shares how it can minimize the usage of biometric data.
Why Biometrics Is Taking a Back Seat
Taxpayers can verify their identity with the help of virtual interviews with agents, the IRS announced on February 21, 2022. However, the agency mentions that you can use data verification through ID.me’s self-assistance tool. The IRS is taking security measures to ensure people’s safety, such as deleting the biometrics once the account is made. In addition, the IRS launched ‘Login.gov’ to provide a one-stop solution for people accessing their tax records. It will help the organization reduce identity theft and further misuse of biometric data.
Is the IRS Ready for a Shift?
The IRS stated that ‘Login.gov’ is a work in progress. The General Services Administration is working on its security optimization. Many people began to question the role of the Virginia company as the mediator between taxpayers and a government organization. Ron Wyder, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, asserted that ‘Login.gov’ is good enough for account verification. The government does not need privately-owned organizations that have led to “billions of dollars in fraud, which has fueled a black market for stolen personal data and enabled companies like ID.me to commercialize what should be a core government service.”
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