Senators argue against private facial recognition for unemployment insurance proof of identity

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) published a letter to the U.S. labor secretary on Feb. 15 arguing against the outsourcing of facial recognition and identity verification for unemployment insurance benefits to the private sector.

The Senators argued outsourcing unemployment identity verification processes potentially created privacy risks for claimants.

The group of Senators argued the U.S. Department of Labor and the General Services Administration should develop alternative methods for unemployment insurance claimants to verify their identities through the government.

Unemployment insurance refers to a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

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