Tue. May 24th, 2022

IRS Needs to Stop Using IDM's Face Recognition

Privacy groups demand transparency after news of ID.me-biometric verification system Used by IRS And more than 27 states have failed to fully understand how facial recognition technology works.

On LinkedIn Post Published Wednesday, Blake Hall, founder and CEO of ID.me, says the company verifies selfies of newly listed users as opposed to a face database in an effort to reduce identity theft. This is in stark contrast to the privacy practices that ID.me has in the past pitched its biometric products and scrutiny from lawyers who argue that members of the public have been forced to use ID.me for basic government work.

On the company’s website and in the white paper shared with Gizmodo, ID.me suggests that its services rely on a 1: 1 face match system that compares user biometrics to a single document. It opposes the so-called 1: many facial recognition systems (deployed by the likes of the now infamous firm like Clearview AI) that compare users to (many) facial databases.

Privacy experts generally agree on 1: Many more are sensitive to bugs and biases (although groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation have revealed Anxiety Above 1: 1). However, although ID.me initially puts itself behind a 1: 1 face match, new comments from the company’s founder show that, at least in some cases, the company compares the faces of some users to a database rather than a single document. . It could potentially involve millions of Americans who have been asked by federal and state governments to view their taxes online or to sign up for unemployment benefits.

Specifically, ID.me tells Gizmodo that it uses 1: many facial recognition when users first register on its system to prevent identity theft, in addition to checking it for 1: 1 user verification. In other words, use ID.me 1: 1 to make sure you are, and 1: 1 to make sure you are nobody else.

ID.me’s 1: Disclosure of the use of many facial identities has led to immediate criticism from a wide range of privacy groups. One of them, Digital Rights, has published a non-profit fight for the future Statement The company was accused of “lying about the possibility of surveillance of his face.” In an emailed statement, Fight for the Future Campaign Director Caitlin Silly George said the revelations would force government agencies to reconsider their partnership with ID.me.

“The IRS should immediately stop planning to use Facial Recognition Verification and all government agencies should terminate their agreement with ID.me,” Seeley George wrote. “We also think that Congress should investigate how this agency was able to win these government agreements and whether it could spread any other lies.”

They were not alone. In an interview with Gizmodo, ACLU senior policy analyst Jay Stanley expressed deep concern about ID.me’s lack of transparency, especially considering its close relationship with government services.

“It simply came to our notice then [ID.me] This is another sign that we Americans are making important policies for how Americans interact with their government by allowing private companies to operate in secret, “said Stanley. Will be subject to other checks and balances that have been created for decades to prevent problems that may arise. “

Stanley also expressed concern about the maintenance of the database ID.me to prevent fraud and who could make their way into it and who might be in it.

In the meantime, an email to Gizmodo, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, (STOP) that has been raised Before Concerns about ID.me’s relationship with the IRS echoed Stanley’s concerns about transparency and warned ID.me’s news 1: Many facial recognition means the system may be more susceptible to bias than previously thought.

“This dramatically increases the risk of racial and gender bias on the platform,” STOP executive director Albert Fox told Can Gizmodo. “More fundamentally, we need to ask why Americans would trust this company with our data if they are not honest about how our data is used.” The IRS should not give so much power to any organization to determine how our biometric data is stored. ”

In a follow-up statement, ID.me reiterated that it tests newly registered users against its own database of selfies, “to investigate the massive attackers and members of organized crime who are stealing multiple identities.” The company says less than .1% of all users are identified as potential identity thieves. When a user is flagged through the facial recognition system, they are not directly blocked but redirected to verify the video chat with one of the company team members.

“Without this control to identify repeat attackers, criminals would kill thousands of innocent people every day,” ID.me said. “In the context of a threatening environment, the option is to accept large amounts of fraud or to take programs completely offline.”

News of ID.me’s Facial Recognition Database comes a week later Gizmodo And others Outlet Wrote about IRS’s decision to make ID.me verification mandatory for those trying to access their IRS.com account. Since then, numerous working groups, including ACLU and STOP, have spoken out against the issue.

The issue also caught the attention of Democratic Sen. Ron Weiden. In a tweet, Wyden said he was “very upset” that some taxpayers might think they had to submit a facial recognition scene. “While e-filing returns are not affected, I am pushing the IRS for more transparency in this plan.”

Although this particular instance occurs to focus narrowly on ID, Stanley, the ACLU attorney, says that the transparency issues highlighted are evidence of an overall system that needs to be reviewed from top to bottom.

“The infrastructure to have a profitable company here is probably an essential government job [verifying identities] Such an identity is a broken way of building a proofing system. “

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