The identity verification company ID.me has announced that it will make facial recognition verification optional for public sector government partners.
The Virginia-based company recently made headlines after the IRS revealed its plans to require US taxpayers to submit a video selfie in order to create an account on its website. However, following backlash from citizens, privacy advocates and lawmakers, the government agency has since backtracked on these plans.
In a press release, founder and CEO of ID.me, Blake Hall explained that the company will now provide public sector employees working for the government with a new option to verify their identities, saying:
“We have listened to the feedback about facial recognition and are making this important change, adding an option for users to verify directly with a human agent to ensure consumers have even more choice and control over their personal data.”
Not a biometrics company
ID.me will now give government agency employees the option to verify their identity with an expert human agent as opposed to having to submit a video selfie.
At the same time, beginning on March 1, all of the company's users will be able to delete their video selfies or photos. This is good news due to the fact that if ID.me were to fall victim to a data breach or even suffer a data leak, employees who used its identity verification service could be at high risk of identity theft as cybercriminals would have access to a great deal of their personal information.
In its press release, ID.me also pointed out that it is an identity verification company and not a biometrics company. So far, the company's trained agents have already verified the identities of over 3m Americans including the unbanked, homeless and international users. During the pandemic, law enforcement and government agencies also employed ID.me's services to prevent criminals from committing unemployment fraud.
While the IRS has dropped its plans to implement identity verification for US taxpayers, the government agency could reverse course in the future.
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After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.