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How to delete yourself from IRS facial recognition
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Security & privacy

Delete your selfies from ID.me – You don’t need this to do your taxes

Filing taxes is a chore that most people don’t want to deal with. Unfortunately, there is no way of getting around them. It should be a painless experience, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) made things more complex late last year.

The government agency contracted third-party ID.me to verify the identity of taxpayers through facial recognition. However, after severe backlash from politicians and digital rights advocates, the IRS backtracked.

But that means there were several weeks in which taxpayers used the system and uploaded selfies to verify themselves. Read on to find out how to delete your selfies from the controversial facial recognition site.

Here’s the backstory

The IRS planned to require you to upload a selfie and government-issued ID through ID.me’s software to pass verification. The software would then compare the images through automated facial recognition.

If you did this in the few weeks the program was live, we have some good news for you. Any ID.me user can log in to their account by going to http://www.account.id.me and deleting all selfies on the system.  

Don’t stress if you can’t get around to doing so before March 11, as all selfies will automatically be deleted on that date. But it’s best not to rely on the technology to remove it, and you should make an effort to delete it yourself.

How to remove yourself from ID.me

You could also close your ID.me account entirely, but it comes with a few caveats. First, the company is contracted to several other government departments, and closing your account could affect that. Then, you also won’t be able to sign up with the closed account’s email address if you decide to return.

Even though the IRS moved away from facial recognition for identification, the agency still needed a way to get the job done. So when the initial announcement was made, the IRS said that a new method of identification was on the way.

You can verify your identity through a virtual interview using ID.me technology. But reports have indicated that wait times are incredibly long, so facial recognition is still an option if you are short on time.

There is other good news on that, too. If you are still concerned about facial recognition privacy, ID.me explained that it would delete any selfies uploaded starting March 11 automatically after 24 hours.

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