Commentary Magazine


GAO: IRS Computers Have Security Lapses

Here’s an article from February about how the IRS is hiring its own small battalion of 1,054 workers because of Obamacare. These workers – who are sufficient to monitor only the very, very early stages of the federal power grab – will be charged with what Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso described as “auditing Americans’ healthcare.”

Now here’s an article from today about how the IRS hasn’t implemented basic security protocols, leading to what the GAO tersely refers to as “information security deficiencies”:

Taxpayer information held by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is vulnerable to access by unauthorized people, according to a report released today from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report cites “information security deficiencies” at the IRS… Among other things, the report faulted the IRS for “continu[ing] to use unencrypted protocols for a sensitive tax processing application.” Testing by the GAO revealed that “systems used to process tax and financial information did not effectively prevent access from unauthorized users or excessive levels of access for authorized users.”

The GAO findings echo other reports of IRS security lapses from June 2011 and January 2009 and April 2008. They come at a time of not just widespread but nearly ubiquitous attacks on government servers, by everyone from state-funded Chinese hackers to 14-year-old trolls operating out of their parents’ basements. The real wonder, from the sound of things, is that IRS data hasn’t leaked out merely by accident.

The progressive left can’t stop shrieking about banks that are too big to fail. Bureaucratic inertia insulated by smug invulnerability, the argument goes, lead to all kinds of anticipated and unanticipated disasters. But when it comes to vesting ever-growing government agencies and stubbornly incompetent government employees with enormous power over the most intimate parts of citizens’ lives, that’s something that needs to be bravely embraced in the name of egalitarianism.

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