Biometric ID for IRS FOIA Requests Trigger Privacy and Access Concerns


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is routing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests through a biometric identification system provided by that requires users who wish to file requests online to undergo a digital identity verification process, which includes facial recognition technology. Privacy advocates are opposed to people being forced to subject themselves to such measures. It is still possible to submit FOIA requests through the mail, fax, or in-person visits, and through An IRS spokesman claimed that the data collected by has nothing to do with the processing of a FOIA request. 


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has come under fire for its decision to route Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests through a biometric identification system provided by This arrangement requires users who wish to file requests online to undergo a digital identity verification process, which includes facial recognition technology.

Concerns have been raised about this method of identity verification, notably the privacy implications of handling sensitive biometric data. Although the IRS states that biometric data is deleted promptly—within 24 hours in cases of self-service and 30 days following video chat verifications—skeptics, including privacy advocates and some lawmakers, remain wary, particularly as they don’t believe people should have to subject themselves to such measures in the first place.

Criticism has particularly focused on the appropriateness of employing such technology for FOIA requests. Alex Howard, the director of the Digital Democracy Project, expressed significant reservations. He stated in an email to FedScoop, “While modernizing authentication systems for online portals is not inherently problematic, adding such a layer to exercising the right to request records under the FOIA is overreach at best and a violation of our fundamental human pure right to access information at worst, given the potential challenges doing so poses.”

Although it is still possible to submit FOIA requests through traditional methods like postal mail, fax, or in-person visits, and through the more neutral, the IRS’s online system defaults to using, citing speed and efficiency.

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Milton Farrow
Milton Farrow
1 month ago

The use of bio-metrics goes against the laws of humnan nature and has for its purpose more than identification it smacks of BRANDING
CATTLE and is an arcane and primative resource of a criminal entity

1 month ago

Could such a system be used with AI to deep fake wrong account holder, with no ability then to biometrically disprove and correct?

1 month ago

The IRS has no authority to employ such measures. It’s just another out-of-control gov’t agency headed by someone who wants to test the limits of the Constitution and cause chaos.