"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, July 8, 2013

Just Another Day at the (IRS) Office

Apparently the IRS has accidentally released thousands of personal Social Security numbers in violation of.... well, the law, privacy, simple decency, etc.   Here's the story:

Every so often, 527s have to file tax forms to the IRS, which then get added to a database. The database itself is hardly a secret; the IRS has been sending updated records routinely to Public.Resource.org and other public-interest groups, and it's a favorite among political reporters. But when the IRS told the group's founder, Carl Malamud, to disregard the Form 990-Ts included in the agency's January release, he took a closer look at the files in question. 
After analyzing the breach, Malamud wrote a letter to the IRS pointing out 10 instances where a social security number was accidentally revealed on the government's website—just a small sample of the larger breach.  
Just the day before, Malamud had filed another letter to the agency describing a problem with the 990-Ts. Of over 3,000 tax returns contained in the January update, 319 contained sensitive data the agency should have scrubbed, Malamud wrote in the July 1 report that he filed to the inspector general's office. In that mixup, some 2,319 social security numbers—perhaps more—were revealed.
A larger point needs to be made.   The first principle from which all liberalism flows is a belief in the omniscience and (hence) omnicompetence of government agencies. The first principle of conservatism (at least Hayekian economic conservatism) is that government agencies can never know enough to be able to direct a command economy (which is what Obamacare is essentially trying to do with the health sector, an economy that would be larger than all but a handful of first-world countries). The daily stories of incompetence from the Obama administration proves that we're right and they're wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment