Technology – The Good and The Bad! Is it Ugly?
We live in a very different world than we did 30 years ago. Technology has radically changed our lives. Some technology is great. However, other technology and how it is used can make human beings “robots.” One type of technology is facial recognition. Facial recognition technology requires a face scan which will verify a person’s identity. China uses facial recognition all the time.
Now, the Internal Revenue Service wanted to use a new biometric standard for identification. In November the tax agency announced an $86 Million partnership with ID.me, a private contractor, to create an “improved identification and sign-in process” for its website.
Presently, taxpayers can access their IRS records with a username and password. Starting in summer 2022, if a person wants to check a child tax credit or look up a quarterly payment they will have to provide a good deal of personal data which could include multiple IDs and personal utility or insurance bills.
In addition, ID.me will require a face scan, which will “verify” a person’s identity, store that information in a database and use for future logins. My, My isn’t that efficient?
Now, what is one of the greatest objections to this method of identification? You might be concerned about Big Brother having a face scan of citizens. Face scans are a major factor of life in China. That is one way to keep control of the population.
Progressives have a different reaction. Representative Ted Lieu of California stated:
“facial recognition is less accurate for darker skin individuals. The IRS needs to reverse this Big Brother tactic, NOW.”
Biometrics is a brave new world. Let’s remember that eight months ago the IRS suffered the biggest privacy breach in its history. ProPublica published years of tax records of wealthy Americans. This leak was either accomplished by leaking or hacking. The IRS has not explained the breach and it is evident that the IRS can’t keep its records safe.
A major concern is that a sweeping facial data base would become a de facto government standard which would then spread to other federal agencies and eventually state governments. ID.me is currently working with federal agencies such as Social Security Administration and also has contracts with dozens of states. What could possibly go wrong?
As of February 9, the Wall Street Journal wrote that Commissioner Chuck Rettig of the IRS stated that the agency is scrapping a plan to require Americans to submit face scans to see their personal tax information. The plan was blasted by all sides on grounds of privacy, security and government intrusion.
However, let’s remember that much of the IRS problem is due to what Congress does. Congress has created a giant transfer-payment state largely facilitated by the IRS. Millions of Americans now interact with the IRS to check up on a stimulus handout, the latest monthly advanced child tax allowance or potential refunds for taxes on enhanced jobless benefits. All of this activity is a windfall to criminals who can siphon payments through identity theft.