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Taxpayers Demand HMRC Deletes Voice IDs

January 28, 2019 / Phil Muncaster

Over 160,000 UK taxpayers have demanded that the HMRC delete biometric voice recordings collected without their informed consent. Big Brother Watch has been running a campaign into the tax office’s use of a voice identification system, first launched in 2017. Having captured biometric data on millions of taxpayers, the system is now linked to “one of the largest known state-held voice databases in the world,” the group claimed. However, this has come at the expense of user privacy. The group revealed last year that when individuals called HMRC’s tax credits and self-assessment helplines they were automatically required to create a voice print. The opt-out option was not immediately obvious — the only way users could follow this route was apparently by saying “no” three times. The ICO is now investigating whether HMRC broke the GDPR by failing to obtain explicit consent from users, that is “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous....