Facial recognition graphic
Vitaly Art/Shutterstock.com

The IRS announced that it would require facial recognition through ID.me to pay taxes. Needless to say, this upset a lot of people, which actually led to the IRS backtracking and announcing that it would no longer be required.

Uncle Sam put out a press release today regarding the policy shift, and it said, “The IRS announced it will transition away from using a third-party service for facial recognition to help authenticate people creating new online accounts. The transition will occur over the coming weeks in order to prevent larger disruptions to taxpayers during filing season.”

The primary reason for all the outrage was privacy. Users were concerned about ID.me, which prompted the IRS to start working on an alternative.

However, it appears as though the agency couldn’t find a reliable and secure alternative, as it has decided to ditch the plan entirely.

Apparently, ID.me’s facial recognition systems did not use a one-to-many matching technique, which could be a privacy nightmare, especially for a system that would be required for every American who pays taxes.

Advertisement

“The IRS takes taxpayer privacy and security seriously, and we understand the concerns that have been raised,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “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 says there will be no issues or delays as far as paying taxes during the transition. “The transition announced today does not interfere with the taxpayer’s ability to file their return or pay taxes owed. During this period, the IRS will continue to accept tax filings, and it has no other impact on the current tax season. People should continue to file their taxes as they normally would.”

It’s shocking to see a government agency back down after a public outcry, but it’s good news for taxpayers who were concerned about having their faces scanned to pay their tax bills.

Profile Photo for Dave LeClair Dave LeClair
Dave LeClair was the News Editor for How-To Geek. He started writing about technology more than 10 years ago. He's written articles for publications like MakeUseOf, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and plenty of others. He's also appeared in and edited videos for various YouTube channels around the web.
Read Full Bio »