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IRS computer flaws could leave millions open to ID theft

[JURIST] Flaws and inadequate computer security at the Internal Revenue Service [official website] has left the personal information of millions of taxpayers open to potential theft and illegal access, according to a Government Accountability Office [official website] report issued Monday. The report also found that the IRS would be unable to tell if its information databases on tax returns had been breached because the agency does not police its computer systems for unauthorized use. The news comes on the heels of recent announcements [JURIST report] of ID theft in the private sector. The IRS has struggled to address computer security issues. The GAO report found that only 32 of 53 problems identified in a 2002 report had been solved, and an additional 39 security issues were found. One example of such a problem is that money-laundering reports and tax returns are jointly stored, meaning a police officer accessing the money-laundering reports could also view tax returns. View the GAO's full report [PDF text] and an abstract [text]. AP has more.

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