The Internal Revenue Service increasingly has relied on data analytics to meet its growing responsibilities. Drawing on large datasets and social media, the agency touts its advanced analytics program as helping to recover millions of dollars lost to tax fraud and errors. There is but one problem: the analytics program appears to be illegal.
According to information obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, the IRS has violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and legal precedent by obtaining electronic communications without a warrant. This practice, authorized in the IRS audit manual, contradicts the 2010 U.S. v. Warshak ruling, which reaffirmed citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their emails, and the government needs a warrant to obtain them. The IRS agreed in a Senate hearing to cease reviewing emails but said nothing about text messages and social media.
Details may be found in an article by Kim Houser in The Hill web site at: http://bit.ly/2EZ2fN0.