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IRS Allows Taxpayers to Forgo Facial Recognition Amid Blowback

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IRS headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Individual photos that have already been captured to create new accounts this tax season will be deleted from’s servers in the coming weeks. New selfies taken this year will not be stored on the servers, according to the IRS.

Credit: Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has walked back a requirement for taxpayers to use facial recognition to access their online accounts amid negative feedback, and pledged to switch to a completely different identity verification system next year.

This follows the agency's decision to "transition away" from using the third-party service to authenticate people creating accounts by using facial recognition to confirm their identities.

Activists and lawmakers said using video selfies in this capacity was an invasion of privacy.

The IRS will permit taxpayers to opt out of's biometric authentication in favor of live, virtual interviews with company representatives.

The agency said it now plans to use, which millions of Americans already use to confirm their identities for access to certain federal Websites, for account authentication.

From The New York Times
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