The hits keep coming for the Internal Revenue Service, where personnel reportedly mishandled some emails containing taxpayers’ personal information last year in flagrant violation of the agency’s rules, according to an audit.
A sample of 80 employees’ email from the IRS’ small business/self-employment division in 2015 found hundreds of unencrypted emails that were sent and potentially leaked taxpayers’ information, according to the audit. Over four weeks the audit found that about 32 employees (40 percent) broke the rules by sending hundreds of unencrypted messages containing “tax return information” from more than 8,000 taxpayers, according to The Washington Times. IRS employees sent some emails to their personal accounts, The Washington Free Beacon reports.
Most of the problematic emails remained within the tax agency’s firewall, according to the audit. Nevertheless, those unencrypted emails “violated IRS requirements,” according to Inspector General J. Russell George.
The IRS in its official response said the review didn’t confirm that information had, in fact, fallen into the wrong hands. But the agency said it has since improved its in-house checks.
The same temerity was evident when initial reports uncovered IRS targeting of certain conservative groups’ nonprofit applications for extra scrutiny.
This mindset must change at the IRS and other government agencies that exhibit such a loose regard for Americans’ security.
(c)2016 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)
Visit The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.) at www.triblive.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.