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A Problem Few Blind People Seem to Understand They Have

This post is intended to be an official public-facing record of a situation that is silently attacking the blind community. I’m posting to detail a specific experience I had with id.me, but which I have encountered a few times in the same 90-day period. I’ll explain then why this is a concerning trend not just for the blindness community, but all marginalized groups. Finally, I conclude by describing the steps I have taken to deal with my individual situation, as well as what you can do to get involved.


Earlier this year, I decided to file my taxes online. I had never done this before, transportation to my usual accountant was difficult to come by and I was curious what the experience. Through my bank, I was able to complete and file the paperwork free of charge, but they needed a copy of my 2022 tax return to complete the process. To do this, I needed to create an IRS account by verifying my identity with id.me. At this point, I had already tried verifying my identity with hinge, Twitter and Meta. I was unsuccessful with all of these, so I had an idea of what I was getting into.

The first option involved scanning my ID card, both sides, then taking a video selfie where I had to follow the moving dots with my eyes. The second option promised a live agent, but still required good scans of the ID card, and I discovered the hard way the agent won’t even deal with you if your scans aren’t up to their standards.

Before I Got An Agent…

I’ve never been one to sit around and wait for a rescue. I contacted id.me’s customer support; they received a detailed email explaining the situation. The first response I got was a list of support articles that clarified which documents could be used for verification.

I let them know this response didn’t match my situation; they were politely told to try again. They told me they couldn’t help; I started exploring legal options. Why comes later.

I did eventually get through to an agent and was ultimately able to file my taxes and meet the deadline. By that point, however, I’d already dealt with three more agents and had gotten tired of essentially being told to go fuck myself. By that point, however, I’d already filed with the DOJ. I told them the best thing they can do is prepare for that.

Why is This a Problem

Digital identity verification is becoming more and more ubiquitous. Social media and dating sites use it; the IRS, Social Security Administration, pharmacies and some government dates at the state and federal levels use this method of verification and they use id.me; age verification laws set by different states are most likely going to adopt this kind of technology. In summary, the door is slowly being closed on blind and visually impaired users, those who are not tech savvy, those who can’t afford tech and those who don’t want their face run through a centralized database that matches their selfie against outstanding warrants and the like. Better to catch this now and set a collective boundary before the door is completely shut.

my Steps

Aside from filing a formal discrimination complaint, I have also been quite vocal on social media. That’s good, but there’s no central place to follow updates. I’ve also contributed opinions to some podcasts, but they have the same essential problem. It was someone’s response asking for my contact info that made me realize I needed a dedicated post people can follow.

Your Steps

If you have experienced or witnessed this kind of discrimination from any company offering digital identity verification and that is based in the United States, your best course of action is:

  1. Attempt: Make the attempt so you know where and what the failures of the site or app are in regard to this process.
  2. Contact support: Explain the situation and provide details for how to replicate the failure. Be ready to go through several escalations and to repeat yourself more than once. Be as patient as you can during this process so they can’t make the argument that you were a disagreeable customer and that’s why you weren’t helped.
  3. Go to the Civil Rights site and file a complaint. If you like paper better, the Americans with disabilities Act (ADA) website has a paper form you can download and print. Make sure you are as detailed as the form will allow, and have any supporting documentation ready in the event you are contacted and asked for it.
  4. Repeat as many times as needed.


The lack of access to digital identity verification can have long-range consequences. This started out as an experience by a blind user who realized it expands to other groups. Which groups? Anyone who isn’t tech savvy, in good standing with the authorities, or able-bodied enough to complete the automated processes. The more complaints that are filed, the more priority taking a legal stand on this gets. The thing is it’s not one company right now; it’s all of them. My preferred method of identity verification? A page with lots of rel-me links.