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The IRS will no longer require you to send a selfie when filing your taxes online

The IRS is abandoning its facial recognition requirement after a hellish week of criticism.

irs seal and blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

In response to widespread criticism, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced it is transitioning away from using third-party facial recognition companies to verify taxpayers’ identities.

“The IRS takes taxpayer privacy and security seriously, and we understand the concerns that have been raised,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a press release. “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.”

The IRS previously teamed up with Virginia-based company ID.me to add another layer of security to its website. Instead of just being able to log in with a password, users would have to submit a government ID card to ID.me and upload a selfie using their phone or computer camera.

As a result of privacy concerns, this new policy caused controversy and widespread criticism. So now, the IRS is looking into alternative authentication methods that don’t involve citizens uploading their pictures to an IRS database. 

“If companies and the government have to lie about facial recognition in an effort to avoid public scrutiny, they shouldn’t be using it,” said Caitlin Seeley George, campaign director for Fight for the Future.

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