Towards the end of 2021, the IRS started to implement the use of facial recognition on its website, where in order to access certain parts of the website, users had to log in and verify themselves using facial recognition. We’re sure that some might have felt a bit uncomfortable with the feature, and there is good news on that front.
According to a tweet by US Senator Ron Wyden, it seems that the IRS has reached out and told him that they will now be backing down from the use of facial recognition on its website. However, Senator Wyden does caution users that the transition away from facial recognition could take time, but ultimately the requirement should eventually be removed.
This is big: The IRS has notified my office it plans to transition away from using facial recognition verification, as I requested earlier today. While this transition may take time, the administration recognizes that privacy and security are not mutually exclusive. https://t.co/jw7OR7dNo0
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) February 7, 2022
The Treasury Department had previously told Bloomberg that the reason for facial recognition implementation was for security purposes. According to Treasury Department spokesperson Alexandra LaManna, “The IRS is consistently looking for ways to make the filing process more secure. We believe in the importance of protecting the privacy of taxpayers, while also ensuring criminals are not able to gain access to taxpayer accounts.”
Commissioner Rettig has since said that the IRS is now exploring a short-term option to replace facial recognition, but are also developing another verification process that will be implemented in the future.