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ID.me now allows users to delete their selfies and photos

After the IRS dumped ID.me and created their own authentication process without facial recognition, the company has announced options for Selfie Deletion and Identity Verification without Automated Facial Recognition. 

The company says that they’re an identity verification company, not a biometrics one — a term commonly used by those worried about IRS’ use of a third-party service to identify taxpayers. The option to verify identity without automated facial recognition will be available to all public sector and government partners. 

According to Founder and CEO Blake Hall, the company has modified its process so that in the coming weeks, people can talk to a human agent without going through a selfie check, depending on the agency’s preference. Additionally, all ID.me users will be able to delete their selfies or photos from the platform starting March 1. 

Should you trust facial recognition technology? The ups and downs

ID.me uses Amazon’s controversial Rekognition technology that allows the company to perform automated face-based visual identification for individuals. The fact that the IRS required users to go through this automated process to access essential services on their site raised questions about whether or not a third-party entity should gatekeep a government service from citizens. 

Apart from being a considerable cybersecurity concern, such automated systems also have an inherent bias against people of colour. ID.me has some fallback options in place, including the option to call a human agent in case automated verification fails.

However, the fact that this can now be presented as a choice upfront goes to show that distrust in the field can hurt their business quite a lot, not to mention the $86 million contract between the IRS and ID.me, which will be left unfulfilled. 

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