IRS cancels facial recognition software for taxpayer identification

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Read the play.

Had the IRS followed this maxim, the agency might not have introduced facial recognition software for taxpayer identification purposes.

The mechanism was so unpopular that both parties in Congress actually agreed on something: it was a terrible idea.

After being lambasted by Republicans and Democrats, the IRS last week waved the white flag and announced that the identity verification system – which would require Americans to undergo facial recognition scanning to access their tax documents historical – would not be used.

U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) slammed the IRS after the announcement saying the fact the idea was even considered was “absolutely appalling.”

“The IRS can’t even protect the data it has access to – why the hell would we give them access to our biometrics?” Lumis said.

In announcing the decision to reverse the controversial plan, the IRS commissioner said the agency takes “taxpayer privacy and security seriously.”

“Everyone should feel comfortable with how their personal information is secured, and we are quickly looking at short-term options that don’t involve facial recognition,” Charles P. Rettig said.

Earlier in the week, Wyoming Senior Senator John Barrasso joined 14 other Republican senators in sending a letter to the IRS condemning its use of the technology.

“The IRS has unilaterally decided to allow an outside contractor to act as a gatekeeper between citizens and needed government services,” the letter read.

“The decision millions of Americans are being forced to make is whether to pay the price of handing over their most personal information, biometrics, to an outside contractor or reverting to the age of a bureaucracy on paper where information travels slowly, is inaccurate, and some would say it is treated in ways incompatible with contemporary life,” it read.

The agency is reportedly developing another process to identify taxpayers that does not include facial recognition.

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