IRS loses 500 laptops, exposes 2000 people

By Justin Mann on April 6, 2007, 9:27 PM
The situation with identify theft and fraud isn't getting any better, especially when an institution that has access to as much financial information as the IRS loses 500 laptops. Surprisingly, the loss of that many machines exposed very few people, relatively. However, 2000 people were still put at risk, with many laptops stolen directly from the IRS. From 100 tested, 44 of them were found to have data that was not only sensitive, but unencrypted as well.

How can a government agency as powerful as the IRS not only lose so many machines, but have so lax policies and apparently no enforcement of what policies do exist to protect data? It's a sad situation, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. You can protect your data and your identity all you want but what if the institutions you trust don't? Apparently, the IRS became aware of these problems four years ago, but didn't begin fixing them until just last year.

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