Tags: irs | exposes | security | numbers

IRS Accidentally Exposes Thousands of Social Security Numbers

Monday, 08 Jul 2013 04:57 PM

By Greg Richter

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The Social Security numbers of at least 2,319 people were posted online as the result of an IRS slipup.

The Internal Revenue Service provided non-redacted information to Public.Resource.Org, a group that works to put public domain government information on the Internet so the public can access it.

Public Resource took the files down immediately and replaced them with redacted versions, but the IRS's own website had the documents up for another full day. The documents concerned 527 groups, which advocate for political purposes.

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The posting occurred in January, and of 3,000 tax returns in the update, 319 included sensitive data that should have been redacted by the IRS, Public Resource founder Carl Malamud said in a report he filed to the inspector general's office.

"This is only one of several exempt organization databases that the IRS has totally bungled," Malamud said in a written statement. "They've become addicted to bad Internet hygiene and it is time now for the service to admit it needs help."

The group says its analysis of its own site shows little if any access to the files before they were removed from its site, National Journal reports.

"For the FTP logs (which indicates bulk download activity), we did not see extensive activity for the January directory, but it was clear that at least one copy of the DVD ISO image (the image of the original DVD) had been transferred," the group's statement said.

The revelation comes amid at least three other issues faced by the IRS. The tax collecting agency already was under fire for targeting conservative groups seeking nonprofit status, wasting taxpayer money on expensive training videos and conferences and leaking the names of donors to conservative groups.



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