Jeff Gordon-all your missing computers are belong to us.
profrv at nex.net.au
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
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.
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