Jeff Gordon-all your missing computers are belong to us.

Matthew X profrv at
Thu May 6 09:11:29 PDT 1999

WASHINGTON (August 16, 2002 6:21 p.m. EDT) - Another big batch of 
government computers has gone missing, this time at the Internal Revenue 
Service, and they could hold private taxpayer data such as Social Security 
numbers and bank account information.
An audit released Thursday shows the IRS is unable to account for an 
unknown number of the 6,600 laptop and desktop computers loaned to 
volunteers who assist low-income, disabled, non-English speaking and older 
people with their tax returns.
The audit follows similar reports that the Customs Service had lost track 
of some 2,000 computers and that the Justice Department was unable to find 
400. An audit this summer of other IRS programs indicated 2,300 computers 
were missing.
Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, senior Republican on the Senate Finance 
Committee, said in a letter to the White House that the latest disclosure 
cries out for a "government-wide effort" to prevent computers from being 
lost, stolen or misplaced.
"I'm worried that just as dryers have a knack of making socks disappear, 
the federal government has discovered a core competency of losing 
computers," Grassley wrote White House budget chief Mitch Daniels.
John Dalrymple, commissioner of the IRS Wage and Investment Division, said 
the agency's management "recognized that inadequate internal controls and 
accountability over computers were areas that needed dramatic improvement."
The latest audit, from the Treasury Department's tax inspector general, 
examined computer equipment loaned by the IRS in 2001 for the Volunteer 
Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. About 1.1 
million returns were prepared under the two programs, including 700,000 
that were filed electronically.
Auditors could not account for 93 percent of computers when doing a random 
check of a central IRS inventory database. While that does not 
automatically mean the computers were lost or stolen, there is no way to be 
Even more troubling is that missing computers could contain private 
taxpayer data. "Information on tax forms is regarded as a prime target for 
identity thieves," the audit says.
In addition, the IRS could not guarantee that such information had been 
removed from the computer hard drives at the end of April as required.
In response, IRS officials said an inventory and consolidation of the 
equipment should be completed by July 2003 and that instructions have 
already been issued to managers to make sure taxpayer files are deleted. 
The agency promised a list of other improvements, some begun before the 
audit was made public.
Despite the agency's pledge to do better, Grassley noted that the IRS has 
not always taken corrective actions recommended by previous audits. "I am 
concerned that words are matched by deeds," Grassley said in separate 
letter to the IRS asking for notification when various actions are completed.
Like when its really goodnight for joshua.

More information about the cypherpunks-legacy mailing list