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Facial Recognition Is No Longer Coming

Posted on Feb. 7, 2022

The IRS announced this afternoon that it will move way from facial recognition to authenticate people creating online IRS accounts, and that it will develop an additional authentication process that does not rely on facial recognition.

The IRS announcement was followed by a news release from the Office of Senator Wyden, reproduced below.


To: Reporters and Editors
From: Keith Chu, Office of Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
Date: February 7, 2022
Re: IRS Plans to Transition Away from Facial Recognition

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released the following statement after the Treasury Department informed his office it is in the process of transitioning away from using the private facial recognition service to verify accounts:

“The Treasury Department has made the smart decision to direct the IRS to transition away from using the controversial verification service, as I requested earlier today” Wyden said.“I understand the transition process may take time, but I appreciate that the administration recognizes that privacy and security are not mutually exclusive and no one should be forced to submit to facial recognition to access critical government services.”  

Wyden asked the IRS to end its use of in a letter this morning. In recent weeks privacy and civil rights advocates have raised concerns about the IRS decision to use facial recognition software by private vendor to verify taxpayers’ accounts and access tax information online. The IRS does not require use of the system to e-file tax returns. However, users have reported hours-long waits to complete the verification process.

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