Two top Democratic House lawmakers want ID.me to produce extensive records about its government business and accuracy following outrage about the IRS' use of the company's facial-recognition systems.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the Oversight Committee, issued the extensive requests in a letter with Rep. Jim Clyburn, who chairs a subcommittee on COVID-19 and is the No. 3 Democrat in the House. The letter said the two lawmakers' panels had "serious concerns about the efficacy, privacy, and security of ID.me’s technology ... being used to verify the identities of millions of Americans seeking to access essential government services."
The information requests, which were first reported by the Washington Post, come after backlash to the IRS' plan to have Americans upload a selfie for verification by ID.me's software before they could access tax information online.
Concerns from the public and members of Congress, which prompted to IRS to back away from the contract in February, focused on the security and civil liberties issues that might arise from a private company accumulating huge amounts of sensitive data as part of a partnership with the government. There were also worries about the accuracy of the software, particularly with dark-skinned faces, and the truthfulness of CEO Blake Hall's descriptions of the company's systems.
In their letter, Maloney and Clyburn said ID.me's public sector contracts extended to 10 federal agencies and 30 state governments, including a role in disbursing pandemic unemployment benefits. The two lawmakers, who alleged instances of long wait times for results from ID.me's verification process, said the company's "performance failures and technological requirements may have undermined the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of" the programs for the unemployed.
In a statement to Protocol, ID.me said: “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. ID.me remains a highly effective solution available for government agencies that provides the most access for under-served Americans."
In addition to questions about the company's contracts, the letter sought information on wait times, accuracy and fraud-detection processes.
This story has been updated with a statement from ID.me.