A group of Republican senators led by Mike Crapo sent a letter to the IRS expressing concern about the agency’s partnership with ID.me, a developer of facial recognition systems.
This raises a host of serious concerns regarding taxpayers’ privacy and civil liberties. Read here to see a full list of questions and concerns Senate Republicans are raising: https://t.co/69WtIuAKST
— Senator Mike Crapo (@MikeCrapo) February 3, 2022
In the letter, the group expressed deep concern “for many reasons”, including “sad stories of data breaches” by the government. As an example, the senators mentioned the 2015 Human Resources attacks, which compromised information of millions of current and former federal employees and led to the theft of 21.5 million social security numbers.
The group also cited a 2019 IRS report that estimated it faces 1.4 billion cyberattacks a year.
“With the personal information of 70 million people, including biometric data, it is likely that ID.me could become a prime target for cybercriminals,” the senators wrote.
They asked the agency a series of questions designed to shed light on the partnership between the Internal Revenue Service and a facial recognition system provider. Senators want to know if the IRS has taken due diligence to ensure taxpayer information is protected before approving the partnership.
The authors of the letter also asked the agency if the ID.me system had passed an independent cybersecurity audit.
In the summer of 2022, the Tax Service plans to connect a face recognition system to the online account. Users will be required to sign up for an ID.me account and submit a copy of their ID, utility bill, and their own video selfie. Senators called the last item “the most intrusive element of verification” because it cannot be easily changed like a password.
Recall that in January, ID.me confirmed the use of a huge database for biometric identification.
In June 2021, due to errors in the facial recognition system, many Americans lost their unemployment benefits.
In April, Senator Ron Wyden proposed legislation to bar government agencies from buying biometric data from private companies without a court order.
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