House Dems say facial recognition company made ‘baseless claims’

House Dems say facial recognition company made 'baseless claims'

The Oversight Committee began investigating in April after reports of long wait times for people who failed initial authentication and needed a human to verify their identity. The company told the committee in a 28 april letter That’s about 10 to 15 percent of its users ended up needing human verification over a video chat with staff.

“Those who needed live agents had to wait for a long time due to this huge volume, impact of COVID and lack of modern technology in state governments. To be prepared for any such emergency in the future, has invested in staff and technology to address the increase in volume,” Terry Neal,’s chief communications officer, said in a statement. .

The wait for these manual authentications can take up to 10 hours in North Dakota and up to six hours in Washington state, As per the data the company shared with the committee,

During the month of April in 2021, the average wait time for manual verification over video chat for unemployment benefits in 14 of the 21 states contracted with was more than four hours. Despite this data, told the IRS during the same month that Average wait time was about two hoursAs per the meeting notes shared with the committee.

A spokesman for the committee said that only provided data relating to successful connections, which did not reflect those who gave up after long waits. reports said people were waiting up to 10 hours in Colorado and another person waited three days in california, The spokesperson said it is possible that the average waiting time could be higher if that data was included.

“The committees’ investigation revealed appalling new information about how’s identity verification services delayed delivering benefits to Americans when they needed them most. Clyburn said wait times for users trying to verify their identities to access government services have reached nine hours.

The meeting notes also showed that used to have a scheduling feature that could allow applicants to make an appointment for authentication instead of waiting hours to speak with a person. said in the document that it cut that feature because half of its users didn’t show up for their appointments.

“In some cases, removed important customer service accommodations, making it more difficult for users to speak with trusted referees,” Maloney said in a statement. “I am also very concerned about providing false information to federal agencies in order to obtain multi-million dollar contracts.”

Maloney and Clyburn worry that only 10 to 15 percent of users have to go through manual checks, with millions of unemployment applicants during the pandemic still meaning potentially hundreds of thousands of people waited hours Take advantage of them.

The company has claimed in the past that the US government lost Unemployment fraud accounts for over $400 billion, without presenting any evidence to support the number. This figure assumes $45 billion estimate from the Labor Department’s Office of the Inspector General,

in told the committee it based its $400 billion claim on “public statements by state and federal officials” as well as third-party analysts and the company’s own observations.

but also Labor Department’s Highest Estimates For money lost to fraud, it’s still only at $163 billion. Committee documents show that they repeatedly asked about its methodology for how it determined the $400 billion figure, and the company did not provide a detailed explanation.

“It is premature to call’s speculation excessive or unfounded, and we welcome the ongoing investigation into this important matter,” Neil said.

“It is extremely disappointing that a company that has received hundreds of millions of dollars to help Americans receive these benefits may have harmed their ability to access that vital relief,” Clyburn said in a statement.

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