Those documents disclosed that "agents were told they didn't need a warrant to root through emails, texts or Facebook pages of people (the IRS) is investigating," according to Fox News.
Despite the fact that IRS email surveillance is a clear affront to privacy and civil liberties, last week, the IRS categorically stated that it has done nothing wrong. The agency denies countrywide accusations that it is violating the Fourth Amendment, which guards citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. According to a 2009 IRS employee handbook, the Fourth Amendment does not protect private emails because Internet users don't "have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications."
And the American Civil Liberties Union is complaining that the IRS is dropping its guard on protecting citizens' privacy by not deploying basic Web security, i.e., using "https" encryption. Instead of shielding citizens when they view various sensitive materials on its website, the IRS is offering them as prey to third-party e-predators.
The ACLU explained: "That 's' after the 'http' may seem insignificant, but it means a lot. It signifies that Google is using Secure Sockets Layer encryption, or SSL, to both encrypt and authenticate its communications. When you visit google.com and you see 'https' at the beginning of the address, it lets you know that your connection is secure, and that third parties -- such as your internet service provider, employer, or university cannot monitor what you're doing through the use of network interception technology."
The IRS might retort that other government websites don't employ "https" encryption to restrict third-party viewing, either, but the fact is that other government sites don't bear our finances and a host of other private information (such as Social Security numbers) to the world. That is why the IRS should employ encrypting security on its website like any other financial or credit institution.
The items above are a few more reasons the taxation system in our country is broken and can't be fixed. As I pointed out in last week's column on how the IRS is robo-auditing your spending, our country desperately needs to abolish the present tax code and enact the FairTax -- a system, I believe, even our Founding Fathers would have been proud of. Best of all, it wouldn't require a monstrosity the size of the IRS to run it.
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