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US oversight committee wants answers on ID.me biometric accuracy, contracts and more

US oversight committee wants answers on ID.me biometric accuracy, contracts and more

The leaders of the U.S. House Oversight Committee have penned a lengthy letter to ID.me, The Washington Post reports, to inquire about the accuracy of its facial recognition, details of its contracts with 10 federal and 30 state agencies.

The ten-page letter is addressed to ID.me CEO Blake Hall, and written by Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.). It begins with reports of significant delays in identity verification processes, and alleges the company has misrepresented how its biometric technology works. This passage makes reference to Hall’s claim that the company does not use 1:N facial recognition, but only facial verification.

The letter also expresses concern about potential disparate accuracy matching people with darker skin, the difficulty older individuals may have in using newer technologies, and the accuracy of statements made by Hall and the company about the amount of fraud it has prevented.

The lawmakers also ask how many people used the service to access unemployment insurance between March of 2020 and February of 2022, how many used the ‘Trusted Referee’ program and how long they waited on average. They request information on the role of human review in determinations of fraud using biometrics, how inaccuracies in the system are investigated, and “All internal documents describing trends in error rates and assessments of database(s) used to train algorithms.”

As previously reported, the face biometrics algorithms used by ID.me are provided by iProov and Paravision, the latter of which has consistently ranked among accuracy leaders in laboratory testing by NIST.

“We look forward to providing important information to the Committee on how ID.me has expanded access to government for disadvantaged Americans, including individuals who do not have credit history, are underbanked, or are without a home. As noted in the Washington Post, ID.me has nearly doubled the number of people able to create an IRS account, and made it easier for ‘many Americans — including low income earners and minorities — to access their tax information.’ ID.me remains a highly effective solution available for government agencies that provides the most access for under-served Americans,” the company wrote in an emailed response to Biometric Update.

“We are proud to have helped government agencies dramatically lower government benefits fraud by organized foreign criminal gangs during the pandemic. The FTC reported identity theft tied to government benefits increased by 2,920 percent during the pandemic. ID.me adheres to the federal guidelines for identity verification and login while providing services to public sector agencies. These standards have proved remarkably effective at preventing fraud.  Four states have credited ID.me with preventing $210 billion in fraud.”

ID.me won a contract with the State of Washington to secure benefits access weeks ago.

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