ID.me simplifies how individuals prove and share their identities online. The idea is that you’ll have to verify your identity once and not have to reverify your credentials every time you visit a new website, similar to how a driver’s license works in the physical world. Once you’re verified, proof of your identity goes with you everywhere.
The IRS is using ID.me to confirm the identities of Americans seeking online tax records, filing a return or making payments to the IRS website. ID.me stores a vast assortment of personal data alongside people’s selfie photos and videos, including home addresses, geolocation data, voice recordings and inferred citizenship status based on submitted passport documents.
The company has been around since 2010, originally used by e-commerce sites to verify the identity of retail customers. State governments began adopting the ID.me system to prevent people from defrauding unemployment claims systems, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What Does It Do?
ID.me can store tax filers’ personal data for up to seven and a half years but will comply with user requests to delete their personal data at any time. ID.me’s deal with the IRS requires users to verify their identity with facial recognition software in order to access a digital transcript or view an online account.
The agency said it would allow taxpayers the option to verify their identity automatically by using biometric verification through ID.me’s self-assistance tool, as well as with a live, virtual interview with agents — offering a video chat option so that users don’t have to use facial recognition tech, as well as an in-person verification option. ID.me is compliant with the National Institute of Security Technology standards, for security.
There are reports of long wait times, questions about how ID.me could share biometric data with authorities and overall privacy concerns because ID.me is a private company. Other problems include Americans who have poor internet service at home, who rely on computers in public libraries or who use old phones. Those who relocate when they lose a job can’t update their driver’s license quickly enough for the software, not to mention those who don’t speak English or who struggle with digital tasks. However, this type of online security may be the wave of the future.
The firm’s core mission is for you to have the last password you’ll ever need instead of having to create a new login at every single website you go to. You can sign up on the ID.me site; you may also find links on participating sites. Once you sign up, your credentials are good on all sites that accept them. Expect modifications along the way, and talk to tax or legal advisers about your need to sign up.