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System for unemployment benefits exposes digital divide

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Posted at 9:10 AM, May 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-02 11:10:57-04

DENVER (AP) — Colorado's use of new technology to protect its unemployment system from scammers is creating a digital divide.

Colorado Public Radio reports the labor department recently enlisted a third-party platform, ID.me, to verify people’s identities.

That process requires users to scan their faces with a smartphone’s camera and upload photographs of their IDs.

The change is hitting certain groups particularly hard. For example, a smartphone is mandatory for ID.me’s main automated process.

But about 15 percent of the U.S. population doesn’t own a smartphone, a group that disproportionately includes older adults, Black and Latino people, people with less income and those in rural areas.