ID.me is giving users a non-biometric authentication option. In doing so, the company is responding to the backlash to its expanded partnership with the IRS. The agency announced in January that facial recognition through ID.me would be required for people accessing online services, though it has since reversed that decision due to pressure from US lawmakers.
For its part, ID.me is trying to assure people that they will still be in control of their own personal information. To that end, the company is expanding a feature that was previously offered to marginalized individuals (such as the homeless) who did not have the documentation needed to complete an automated identity verification process. More specifically, those who want to opt out of the facial recognition check will now be able to schedule a video chat with a human agent to complete their registration.
ID.me is already using video chats to resolve cases in which the automated facial recognition process fails. The new policy will simply allow organizations to offer video chat as a primary authentication option rather than a last resort. The human verification can also be carried out in-person at participating locations, assuming that the organization has procured ID.me’s offline services as part of its contract.
The new option will be available through all of ID.me’s government partners. The company stressed that it is a provider of identity verification services (rather than biometrics services), noting that it has already verified more than three million identities manually. As of March 1, ID.me will also give users the ability to delete any selfie images associated with their accounts, which will in turn give them even more control over their personal information.
“We have listened to the feedback about facial recognition and are making this important change, adding an option for users to verify directly with a human agent to ensure consumers have even more choice and control over their personal data,” said ID.me Founder and CEO Blake Hall. “ID.me is deeply committed to access, equity, security, and privacy.”
ID.me’s automated onboarding solution (which has FedRAMP approval) uses facial recognition and liveness detection technology from Paravision and iProov, respectively. Like other onboarding solutions, the system asks users to submit a selfie and a photo of an ID document, and then uses facial recognition to match the former to the image on the latter.