Facial recognition software used to verify unemployment recipients reportedly doesn’t work well

According to Motherboard, the facial recognition tool used by more than two dozen US states to verify persons claiming unemployment benefits is ineffective, resulting in many people being denied benefits or having their applications put on hold.

ID.me is an identity verification service that combines biometric data and official documents to verify people’s identities in order to assist eliminate unemployment fraud. However, according to Motherboard, several job applicants have complained that ID.me failed to identify them accurately and that they have had problems contacting ID.me to resolve the issue.

ID.me CEO Blake Hall wrote in an email to The Verge that the firm employs “1:1 Face Matching to match the selfie image to the photo on the official ID.” This is comparable to how Apple unlocks phones with FaceID, and it’s similar to how a TSA inspector compares your face to your photo ID at an airport.”

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He went on to say that the company’s Face Match algorithms “work at 99.9% efficacy.” Hall further stated that the business was unaware of any “qualified individuals” who were unable to verify their identity using the company’s software, and that wait times for a video chat with a company representative were “consistently under 30 minutes all week.”

With millions of individuals out of work as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, state agencies have seen an increase in claims in the last year. Last spring, some states reported a substantial increase in fraudulent claims, and the Department of Labor stated (.pdf) in February that it had detected more than $5 billion in potentially fraudulent unemployment payouts between March and October of the previous year.


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