UPDATED: Feb. 12 (UPI) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday Because of concerns about how the IRS plans to protect biometric data after cancelling its contract with ID.me, the agency collected facial recognition data from 7 million taxpayers using ID.me software.
Oversight Committee members were briefed by IRS officials on the agency’s decision to halt use of ID.me facial-recognition technology just months after implementing it, according to a statement released last week.
It began encouraging taxpayers to use the ID.me service in November after a $86 million contract was signed with Veterans Tech, the company behind ID.me, in June.
However, millions of taxpayers had already signed up for ID.me before the contract was cancelled because of concerns about privacy, security, and equitable access to their data.
House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn B. Maloney wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig on Friday, noting her “continuing concern” for the impact on taxpayers who have already provided their biometric data
It will be at least seven years before the IRS can ask for the deletion of the biometric information of these individuals, according to Maloney, who wrote in a blog post.
There is therefore an increased risk of bad actors and other cybersecurity incidents getting their hands on Americans’ highly personal information, even though the IRS may have sought to terminate its contract with them.
“The potential costs to American taxpayers given the agency’s about-face on this multimillion-dollar contract,” said Maloney, a Democrat from New York.
As a result of the technology’s inability to properly identify users, other people seeking unemployment benefits have been locked out of important systems, the congress woman said.
13 percent of ID.me users have been unable to authenticate since June, resulting in a call to a customer service representative who would attempt to verify their identity via video chat, Maloney said in the briefing last week.
“This technology is virtually unregulated, and increasing transparency and accountability is crucial,” she said. she added.
This contract with Veterans Tech has prompted a number of questions from the House Oversight Committee, including how much money has already been spent on the contract and the costs of terminating it. The IRS was requested to provide this contract file and answer these questions.
March 1 is when taxpayers can begin requesting to have their information removed from Veterans Tech’s services.