IRS Data Web Snares Mostly Low- and Middle-Income Taxpayers

Agency expands its robo-audits to get more personal data, but has so far only netted small change.

Izmir, Turkey - March 29, 2011: Close up of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) main page on the web browser. IRS is a United States government agency tasked with collecting yearly state and income tax from working residents and businesses.
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"When technological change in the ability to analyze and aggregate data allows activities that are different, not just in degree, but in kind, we as a society should have the ability to think about whether or not we should go down that path," says Surden, who worked as a programmer for Cisco Systems before studying law at Stanford University. "As a publicly accountable agency," he says, "the IRS should make the public aware if technology is allowing them to analyze data in ways that were not possible in the past. That should be an open discussion we all participate in."