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The IRS backs off as Congress focuses on two other areas

I’ve been tracking the IRS’s move to use facial recognition — so too has Congress.     Late last week, three separate letters from US Senators on both sides of the aisle asking for answers. One Republican in the House has introduced legislation to ban the IRS from using the technology on taxpayers.      And on Monday, the IRS backed off entirely, giving up on that idea and instead focusing on “an additional authentication process.” 

And tracking right to repair — seems Congress has noticed that too.    Two new proposed laws were introduced addressing it.     The Freedom to Repair Act specifically carves out space from 1998’s Digitial Millenium Copyright Act. The Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act would ensure independent repair shops and consumers have access to the same tools and data that dealerships have.   This is similar to a law passed in Massachusetts.  

Congress also debates a larger tech bill focused on competitiveness with China.    The House and Senate each have competing versions of the bill, focused on scientific research, new technologies, and investments in semiconductors, all to compete with China.  

Why do we care?

That last set of bills gets all the headlines, and I think we care more about the others.  

The IRS changing gears was fast – I had considered this segment for yesterday’s show, and if I had done so, I would be doing it again.    That should tell us something about the public sentiment about facial recognition and the confusion of not having a national privacy law.    Use that insight with your client’s work.

Right to repair’s momentum is vital – and this remains positive for those in services.    Either offering the service or helping technology investment maintain over time… both win.