Dave Zvenyach, the director of the group responsible for improving digital access to US government services, has made a decision to forego the use of selfies and face recognition for verifying the identity of people creating new accounts on Login.gov. In a Slack message sent to his team, Zvenyach stated that the benefits of liveness/selfie do not outweigh any discriminatory impact.
Login.gov provides a secure way for individuals to access dozens of government apps and websites. The platform currently requires users to upload a selfie and a photo of their ID so that algorithms can compare the two and verify their identity. However, concerns have been raised about the discriminatory impact of this process.
According to Zvenyach, there is evidence to suggest that the use of selfies and face recognition can disproportionately affect people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. These individuals may be more likely to encounter errors in the algorithm, resulting in denial of access to government services.
The decision to forego the use of selfies and face recognition is a significant one, as these technologies are often touted as a secure and efficient way of verifying identity. However, Zvenyach’s message acknowledges that there are potential downsides to these technologies, including the risk of perpetuating bias and discrimination.
The move has been praised by advocates for digital rights and civil liberties, who have long been calling for greater transparency and accountability in the use of facial recognition technology. They argue that facial recognition has been used to target marginalized communities and can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and biases.
Zvenyach’s decision is part of a wider push to improve digital access to government services while also ensuring that these services are inclusive and accessible to all. This includes efforts to improve the accessibility of government websites and to make it easier for individuals to access critical services online.
In conclusion, Dave Zvenyach’s decision to forego the use of selfies and face recognition for verifying identity on Login.gov is a significant step towards ensuring that government services are accessible and inclusive. The move acknowledges the potential harms of facial recognition technology and highlights the importance of transparency and accountability in the use of digital technologies.