(CNN) — The next time you try to log in to the Internal Revenue Service’s website you’ll be urged to use facial-recognition software to verify you are who you say you are.
The verification process includes taking a picture of a photo ID, like a driver’s license or passport, and then taking a video selfie with a smartphone or computer so software can compare the two. It’s part of a partnership the IRS has with ID.me, a fast-growing company that uses facial recognition software as part of its identity-verification process.
For now, this process is optional if you already have an IRS username and password. But if you don’t, and you want to use online tools to request an online tax transcript or see information regarding your tax payments or economic impact payments, you’ll need to sign up with ID.me. And starting this summer, those old IRS usernames and passwords will no longer work.
As CNN reported last year, ID.me already verifies identities for more than half of all states’ unemployment agencies as well as a growing number of US federal agencies. In addition to the IRS, ID.me works the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration and the US Patent and Trademark Office. The company says it has 70 million users and adds 145,000 new users each day.
The IRS used ID.me in a more limited capacity last year, verifying people who wanted to opt out of receiving advance child tax credit payments. In November, the IRS announced it was expanding this verification process for all logins, but it is gaining attention and some scrutiny as tax season begins and millions of people visit the agency’s site.
“I think any plan that inserts a private intermediary into the system for accessing critical information or obtaining benefits from a government agency warrants a lot of scrutiny,” said John Davisson, director of litigation and senior counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC.
In a statement to CNN Business, the IRS pointed out that it’s not necessary to have an online account with the IRS at all. The agency said it “emphasizes taxpayers can pay or file their taxes without submitting a selfie or other information to a third-party identity verification company.” (Taxpayers can also, for instance, request a transcript that will come by mail.)
“To help protect the security of taxpayers, the IRS uses an identity verification process for accessing IRS’ self-help tools such as checking your account online and getting a transcript online,” the IRS said in a statement to CNN Business.
The rise of ID.me
ID.me, which has been around for roughly a decade, grew swiftly during the pandemic, largely due to states turning to the company for identity verification for unemployment seekers. The hope was that ID.me, along with its facial-recognition software, would cut down on a surge of fraudulent claims for state and federal benefits that cropped up during the pandemic alongside a tidal wave of authentic unemployment claims.
As ID.me has spread to more government services, it has also raised concerns from privacy advocates about how facial recognition technology is seeping into everyday life. Those concerns were renewed this week amid mixed messaging from the company about how its service works.
To verify users’ identities, ID.me uses a form of facial-recognition technology known as facial verification, or one-to-one facial recognition — similar to the process of unlocking your smartphone with your face.
As recently as this week, the company has said it does not use what’s known as one-to-many facial recognition. This is the software a police department might use. It attempts to match a photo of a person to ones in a database of faces, and the technology, as used in other services, has been linked to at least several wrongful arrests of Black men.
“ID.me does not use 1:many facial recognition, which is more complex and problematic,” Blake Hall, the founder and CEO of ID.me, said in a statement posted to the company’s website this week.
Yet in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday, first noted by cybersecurity news site CyberScoop, Hall wrote that the company does use one-to-many facial recognition software “on selfies tied to government programs targeted by organized crime to prevent prolific identity thieves and members of organized crime from stealing the identities of innocent victims en masse.”
A spokesperson for ID.me said the company first uses one-to-one facial recognition for verifying identities of users, and then checks users against an internal database of selfies to look for “prolific attackers and members of organized crime who are stealing multiple identities.” People who are matched with a photo in ID.me’s database — which the spokesperson said totals 0.1% of users — are sent to a video chat for verification.
In response to Hall’s LinkedIn post, digital rights group Fight for the Future called for the IRS to stop the use of facial verification on its website, and for government agencies to end contracts with ID.me.
Beyond the privacy concerns, ID.me has also long faced complaints from users who say they have spent hours waiting to have their identities verified via video chat after failing to pass the company’s facial recognition step. Some of them, like English teacher Ari Herzog, take to social media in hopes of getting help from the company.
Herzog, who’s based in the Boston area, already had an IRS online account and said he experienced a nine-day wait to get verified with ID.me in early January, including failed attempts to upload documents, and a long wait for a video call.
“I saw a message that current logins are going to be required to use this new ID.me system beginning this summer,” he said. “So I thought, ‘Okay, I might as well get a head start on this; how long could it take?’”
The ID.me spokesperson said that in the first three weeks of January, a combination of the Omicron variant and snowstorms in Virginia, where the company’s support team is based, cut down its ability to support users. The spokesperson also said that nine out of 10 ID.me users are automatically verified in under five minutes.
A First As the World Warms: New Forecasts Could Help Predict Marine Heat Waves
Scientists have developed a new system to predict when and where marine heatwave is likely to develop.
Collisions Cause Major Traffic Backups in Bothell and Arlington
Traffic in the Puget Sound region came to a stop Wednesday morning due to two separate incidents, one in Bothell and the other near Arlington. On southbound Interstate 405 in Bothell, a collision near Highway 527 closed the two right lanes, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced on Twitter. The resulting traffic backup is […]
Source Here: seattletimes.com
DISH Network to Pay $5.5M Settlement Over Alleged Hazardous Waste Disposal Violations
OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Satellite TV provider DISH Network will pay $5.5 million to settle a lawsuit accusing it of illegally disposing of hazardous waste in Alameda County and elsewhere in the state.
DISH Network is alleged to have violated California environmental laws by sending hazardous waste to local landfills that are not equipped or authorized to receive the waste.
According to state Attorney General Rob Bonta, audits of DISH facilities in California found that DISH repeatedly disposed of hazardous waste since 2005 in violation of the Hazardous Waste Control Law and Unfair Competition Law.
“If you break the rules, we will hold you accountable,” said Bonta in a press release. “For years, DISH carelessly disposed of and sent hazardous waste to local landfills, ignoring the consequences for our communities and our environment. From there, hazardous chemical elements from electronic devices, batteries, aerosols, and more could seep into soil and contaminate our environment. Today’s settlement is critical. Large corporations like DISH have a responsibility to respect our environmental laws and do their part to protect our state’s precious resources.”
“My Office is committed to holding corporate polluters accountable for violations of state environmental laws,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley in a statement. “Hazardous electronic waste is ubiquitous, and everyone must do their part to keep these items out of the landfill, especially large corporations who handle high volumes of electronic waste.”
As a provider of TV and video services to residential and business customers, DISH employees manage large volumes of electronic equipment, such as remote controls, transformers, and power adapters, various batteries, aerosol cans, and other items classified as hazardous waste.
The Colorado-based company will pay for penalties, costs, and supplemental environmental project to benefit the community while making significant changes to its operations and practices to come into compliance with state law.
Specifically, DISH must:
• Pay $5.5 million, including $3.32 million in civil penalties, $835,500 in litigation costs, and $845,000 for supplemental environmental projects. DISH must also spend $500,000 to implement enhanced environmental compliance measures to ensure proper management of hazardous waste at its California facilities.
• Hire an independent third-party auditor to perform environmental compliance audits at DISH’s 25 facilities across the state;
• Conduct regular inspections of facility trash dumpsters and roll-off containers to ensure the containers do not contain hazardous waste; and
• Provide training to employees to ensure compliance with California’s hazardous waste laws.
According to the attorney general’s and Alameda DA’s offices, the DISH settlement is the fifth case of a telecom industry giant addressing unlawful disposal and management of hazardous waste. The two offices have also successfully prosecuted AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV, and Cox Communications for similar environmental violations related to illegal disposals of large volumes of electronic waste from their cable and satellite video services.
Source Here: sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com
Legislation6 months ago
Biden Vows to Fight Omicron Surge With Masks and Shots, Not Lockdowns
Medical7 months ago
Atlanta-based Black Female Therapists to Launch New Offerings For…
Current Events6 months ago
Olive Harvest in Palestine: Could Oil Become Tears?
Legislation7 months ago
Storm System to Impact Chicago Area Sunday-Monday
Medical6 months ago
Seattle Humane: a Foster Volunteer’s Perspective
Arts7 months ago
California Teacher Placed on Leave After Video Shows Her Imitating Native American Dance, Wearing Headdress
Banking7 months ago
Technology Giants Meet Under One Roof in Surat for a Pay It Forward Initiative to Grow the IT Sector
Medical6 months ago
Russia Threatens Criminal Charges Against a NASA Astronaut