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Government employees fail security test, reveal passwords to "technicians"

60 percent of tested IRS employees failed to protect their passwords from government tiger teams, says a July 20 government report.

The audit was launched by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) between March and April of 2007. The report (PDF), sampled 102 various IRS employees, including managers and a contractor, on a single day sometime in the audit timeframe. Social engineers from the TIGTA contacted the IRS employees via telephone, posing as helpdesk personnel.

61 of the 102 sampled IRS employees complied with the TIGTA callers’ requests — which violates IRS internal security policy — by providing their username and changing their password to one suggested by the caller.

Previous audits, conducted in 2001 and 2004, revealed vastly different results. In 2001, TIGTA callers were able to coax passwords out of 71 percent of sampled employees, while the audit in 2004 saw that number drop to 35 percent.

In an effort to understand the numbers, TIGTA auditors contacted all the sampled employees for a follow-up on why they did or did not comply with the TIGTA callers’ requests. Among those who broke policy, the most popular reasons cited were: the employee believed the request sounded legitimate (33 percent); the employee did not believe that changing their password was the same as revealing it, which they knew was against the rules (16 percent); or most alarmingly, the employee was aware of the rules but broke them anyway (13 percent).

The IRS employs close to 100,000 people, says the report, and the sample size was purposefully small as auditors needed to conduct their tests before the news broke out around IRS offices.

“Due to the sample size, we were unable to project our results throughout the IRS. However, we believe our sample was sufficient to demonstrate that IRS employees continue to be susceptible to social engineering attempts and that employees do not provide sufficient emphasis to the security of taxpayer data in their day-to-day activities,” states the report.

Despite frequent intrusion attempts, the report emphasizes that the IRS’ computer systems remain uncompromised by outside threats. However, given that IRS employees so easily revealed their passwords, that record could easily be broken, putting millions of taxpayer records stored in more than 1500 databases at risk.

In a reply attached to the end of the report, IRS Mission Assurance and Security Services Chief Danel Galik writes, “the [IRS] takes its security posture very seriously and we recognize the risks associated with exposing sensitive data unnecessarily ... we continue to reemphasize computer security practices, including social engineering, to IRS personnel.”



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IRS is not needed
By paydirt on 8/4/2007 4:01:36 AM , Rating: 1
The IRS employs 100,000 people. Some are idiots and they're somewhat friendly idiots, but the whole IRS is unnecessary if we adopted a flat national sales tax otherwise called the "Fair Tax". If we threw out the income tax and all its loopholes, the U.S. government would save more than 1 Billion dollars a year.




RE: IRS is not needed
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 8/4/2007 4:05:40 AM , Rating: 4
The cost alone of switching such a system would easily cost in excess of a billion dollars. However, I believe the savings would probably exceed that several times over.


RE: IRS is not needed
By Ringold on 8/5/2007 3:54:23 AM , Rating: 2
Tax compliance costs last year were probably close to $300 billion. FairTax drops that to effectively zero, as it makes use of the already existing sales tax systems, though I suppose POS equipment may need a little software upgrade.


RE: IRS is not needed
By Gumby16 on 8/4/2007 4:24:59 AM , Rating: 4
Only fair if it's done on a percentage basis. A "flat tax" where everyone chips in $100 is much more difficult for the low-income end of the spectrum than for people making $200k a year. $100 to a person making $10k hurts their bottom line 1%. $100 to a $200k earner is 0.05%, effectively not a tax at all. A "flat percentage tax" where everyone pays, say, 5% of total income hits everyone more equitably. Also, a "national sales tax" is different. Then you're taxing all consumer behavior. If things become more expensive, you cut back on spending. So a national sales tax has big ramifications for everyday shopping. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, just something to keep in mind.

By the way, I agree on the need for a "flat tax" but only on a percentage basis. The IRS would save at least a billion in operating costs with such a simplified system and it would make doing taxes easier for tax payers. Having hundreds of forms with thousands of pages of instructions is an incredible waste of time, money, and resources. Mostly it's just keeping tax prep. companies in business.

These results are not surprising. You find similar results anywhere. I work at a major research institution and people still give out passwords, usernames, and personal information like it was going out of style.


RE: IRS is not needed
By Goty on 8/4/07, Rating: 0
RE: IRS is not needed
By FITCamaro on 8/4/2007 11:17:45 AM , Rating: 2
Thats not a flat tax. Thats a consumption tax. The issue with that is on things like homes. Imagine paying a 20-25% consumption tax on a home you buy. That would put buying a home out of reach of many people. And if you exempt purchases like that, the rich could just buy them, wait for the value to rise, then sell it at a profit, and not pay taxes on that income.

A flat tax is setting the amount of income tax that everyone pays to the same percentage. So instead of there being different tax brackets and numerous loopholes so you can get out of paying them, which largely benefit the rich and giant corporations, theres just one bracket everyones in of say 25%.

Some people are saying "So what you expect people to just pay them?" No which is why the IRS would still be around. You still have to make sure that people pay their taxes and the right amount. It would just be far smaller. The tax process would be far simpler too. Just take how much you made, minus any deductions, and multiply by that percentage to get your taxes.

There are a few reasons it likely won't happen though. One is that the poor would complain that "You're only giving money back to the rich". Well of course the rich would benefit the most. They're in the highest tax bracket. They're still going to pay more than the poor though, just less than they were before. The same with corporations. So that means the liberals in Congress would never vote for it.

Another reason is because of the number of jobs that would be lost. What reason would there be for companies like H&R Block and other tax preparation companies and software companies like the makers of Turbo Tax. Not to mention all the tax attorneys out there (not that anyone but them would care about them not being able to suck the life out of you).

The job losses would be in the hundreds of thousands. Surely something no politician wants to be responsible for. And its certainly something the politicians think about.


RE: IRS is not needed
By Ringold on 8/5/2007 4:03:12 AM , Rating: 2
Most prices wouldn't rise anywhere near the amount of the actual national sales tax. As you've pointed out yourself in other posts elsewhere, companies pay huge amounts of taxes, and that gets passed right on down the food chain. With all of that gone, input costs are effectively slashed.

That covers newly constructed homes, and I'd have to look but I'm assuming existing home sales wouldn't be taxed, as I think it exempts things being resold..

The prices that probably would go up are those currently not taxed at all. While their costs would still go down, a haircut and similar things would still probably get more expensive. Woops.

On jobs.. H&R block probably won't care for it much, no, but last I'd heard most large accounting firms liked the idea as it'd free them up to do much more productive work for their clients than triple-checking Uncle Sam's cut of corporate profits -- and thats where most accountants are employed, anyway.

Also, last point, with the monthly prebate, the poor effectively get a negative tax rate just like the one they enjoy now. Difference is that savings would no longer be punished, giving them as large an incentive as can possibly be given anybody to save money (that being zero disincentive).


RE: IRS is not needed
By Fritzr on 8/5/07, Rating: 0
RE: IRS is not needed
By Ringold on 8/5/2007 2:59:48 PM , Rating: 2
If someone enjoys a good or service outside the country, I don't see the problem with paying local taxes and not American ones? If they come here and the tables turn, they don't pay the VAT unless they take it back with them, and likewise on the FairTax. That all seems fair to me.

On the poor not being able to benefit.. Well, for travel to foreign destinations, again, I don't see the problem there; work hard, save money, and they too can live like the rich, who earned their meal ticket already. But percentage of income being spent on taxes really varies; spend less, pay less! Given the huge disincentive to save that is removed, and that brokerage accounts can be set up for free online or at retail offices across the nation, they could easily join the investing class.

Of course, the poor have to want to be thrifty, work hard, and save money. The American Dream promises that if you do that, you'll be rewarded, not that if you're here you get rewarded anyway. It opens the door for success rather than punishing it -- that's all.


RE: IRS is not needed
By B on 8/6/2007 7:14:30 PM , Rating: 2
In regards to your comment on the job losses here is my perspective. Our tax system is a luxury item. The government writes a tax code that is endlessly complex. It is over 65,000 pages.

The code is subject to broad interpretation by accountants and lawyers. It’s not all that different than a math class with glorified story problems. The government writes the problem, the tax professionals solve it. It’s all a game to calculate a tax liability. It’s a waste of time, talent, and skilled workers.

All of the people I work with are intelligent; some of the people I work with are brilliant. Greater than half the people I work with have an advanced degree. They are motivated and entrepreneurial. I often wonder what they could do if they weren't consumed with tax planning, entity structures, and tax compliance. They could certainly be engaged in something more gainful to society. Everyone I work with is capable of being a scientist, engineer, software programmer, educator, or mathematician.

While a flat tax would bring job losses, the losses would be temporary. We can all be retrained and create new opportunities for ourselves and possibly society. In the mean time, we will continue this lucrative charade.


RE: IRS is not needed
By Netted on 8/4/2007 11:21:28 AM , Rating: 2
You are thinking of a national sales tax, not a flat tax. Flat taxes are still income taxes cepting they have only 1 bracket.


RE: IRS is not needed
By The Sword 88 on 8/4/2007 11:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah a flat tax is like, everyone pays 20% of their income, no matter what.


RE: IRS is not needed
By Ringold on 8/5/2007 3:43:55 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but you clearly don't know what the OP is talking about when he refers specifically to the FairTax.

I suggest checking the wikipedia entry, as the last time I checked it managed to avoid the shameful left-leaning slant given most economics-related entries. Fairtax.org also is pretty good, where you'll find academic studies. Neal Boortz and John Linder co-wrote a book on it, but it's got a good bit of fluff and would rather one wait until the next edition comes out which will include more "Answering the critics" entries.


RE: IRS is not needed
By DOSGuy on 8/4/2007 6:32:07 AM , Rating: 5
Not needed? So people are just going to pay their taxes voluntarily? Do you understand what the IRS does? We collect taxes, and the largest part of what we do is negotiate payments and catch tax evasion. It doesn't take 100,000 people to design the tax forms. Actually, as someone who hears every day that we're impossible to reach by phone, I can tell you that not only are we needed, but we're understaffed.

As for a flat tax simplifying the tax forms, you might want to pull one out and take a look at it. Eliminating the tax brackets would make one section a bit simpler (for people whose income exceeds the minimum bracket), but most of the form is categorizing the income and declaring deductions. Not all income is taxed equally, for various reasons. Capital gains from stocks are less taxable than employment income because a) they're not guaranteed income because you could just as easily take a loss, and b) the government wants people to invest their money to earn money with their money. You'll never get rich working for someone else. Business income is taxed at a different rate to encourage entrepreneurship, and it's taxed at a different rate from rental income, which is (mostly) guaranteed income. Deductions are allowed for donations so that people will give to charity. Business expenses are deductible to help businesses survive the losses they inevitably incur while they're getting started. There are deductions for interest charged on money borrowed for investments in order to encourage investment. People have medical expenses, student loans... and everything is taxed or credited at a different rate to encourage economic growth and make things fair for everyone. Yes, fair! You didn't think we put all of those lines on the form just for fun, did you?

Even if a flat tax actually did make the tax form simpler, here's the bottom line. If you want to generate the same tax revenue from a flat tax, you'll have to raise the tax rate for the poorest people in order to reduce it for the rich. 20% of the income of a person who spends every cent they make on food and shelter will bankrupt them, while 20% of the income of a billionaire is just a drop in the bucket. The rates increase for people in higher income brackets because they have more money left over after expenses! It's only fair that people who have the most money should pay the most taxes. When you talk about having a flat tax, you're talking about raises my taxes. If you want to pay more taxes, go ahead, but don't ruin it for the rest of us.


RE: IRS is not needed
By Targon on 8/4/2007 8:11:10 AM , Rating: 2
The problem extends even further than that though. You say how much effort goes into things like encouraging this and that, but a big problem comes from the way everything goes to the federal and state levels, and then we all have to hope and pray that the money makes it back down to the local level where we live. That is where the problems come from, this idea that the Federal and State governments are the best people to judge where our money goes.

A sales tax system that replaces the current income tax could easily have sales tax stay local, with a percentage then going to the county, which would then send a percentage to the state, and then the state going to federal levels. The amount being sent up to the next level would need to be enough to fund that next level, but it would make sure the police, fire, ambulance, and hospitals, as well as other services get enough money so federal assistance isn't needed for MOST areas.

If you are worried about how those in lower income brackets, then make it so essentials have a different tax rate on them. This would keep those needing these programs from buying junk food for their children as an example, rather than healthy foods. Make it so some services don't have a sales tax attached to them(income by those providing these services would still be spending money, so the taxes not gained there would still end up being gained when the service vendors spend money).

Then you have the whole idea that home owners deserve special deductions while those who rent(because they can't afford to buy their own home) end up not being able to save up for their own home. A sales tax system would solve that problem as well because what is taxable and what is not.

If this whole concept seems to be too difficult, then switching to paying taxes each month instead of each year would end up as a benefit because it is a LOT easier to figure out your finances if you are only looking at your records for one month instead of for the whole year.


RE: IRS is not needed
By FITCamaro on 8/4/2007 11:25:59 AM , Rating: 2
As I said above. A sales tax system is a consumption tax. Not a flat tax.

And your taxes get taken out on your paycheck. Unless you choose not to or are a contractor. If you're someone who choses/has to pay your taxes monthly, you can still calculate roughly how much you have to pay. Take your yearly income, minus expected deductions, multiply by your tax bracket percentage, and divide by 12. You might come up short or over, but you'll figure that out when you do your taxes at tax time. So round up to be safe.


RE: IRS is not needed
By psyph3r on 8/5/2007 2:25:23 AM , Rating: 2
the us gets a 1/3 of its income from income tax...if you stop waging wars half around planet for oil....you have a balanced budget. Bureaucratic jobs are mostly a waste of American money. Especially homeland security...joke


RE: IRS is not needed
By emboss on 8/5/2007 12:54:05 AM , Rating: 2
The real problem with the US tax system (in terms of complicating everything and needing staff) is all the deductions. Keep a progressive tax structure, but remove 95% of the deductions (just keeping the biggies like charity donations).

See for example the current tax system in New Zealand. 70% of people don't even have to file a tax return as it can be done automatically (all you do is check the number that they send you, and then sort out any money that needs to be paid/collected). It's not perfect, but having dealt with a number of systems over the past few years it's by far the least painful I've been subjected to (and the US's is definitely the most painful).


RE: IRS is not needed
By Ringold on 8/5/2007 4:34:13 AM , Rating: 2
For an IRS employee, you don't know your competition very well. Then again, that's expected out of the government.

quote:
As for a flat tax simplifying the tax forms, you might want to pull one out and take a look at it.


The OP named the FairTax. The tax forms would be simplified in the following manner: They would be destroyed.

At least, for the average American. The forms businesses deal with presently to report their collected sales taxes would be all that remains, along with probably a small number of federal employee's making sure it all gets to the federal kitty.

quote:
People have medical expenses, student loans... and everything is taxed or credited at a different rate to encourage economic growth and make things fair for everyone.


That worked out until the tax code became complex enough that a economist's can input the tax code in to an economic model of a consumer on a supercomputer and have the results come out "bizarre", as one staid economic journal put it.

What does that mean? That means that the average American can in no possible way sit down and decide if they should save or spend any marginal dollar of income.

Looking over your post, every supposed benefit you noted of special tax treatment would inherently be maximized with the removal of income taxes. No taxes on income is the most powerful incentive possible for savings and investment at all levels, private and commercial.

Anyway, your last paragraph really makes me wonder if you know how the proposed system would operate, as the tax burden doesn't particularly shift all that much thanks to the pre-bate and spending habits. Given that the FairTax would be revenue neutral, in the aggregate it can't possibly be a tax increase.

Looking over the rest, I'm not sure you know what the FairTax is or aims to be, so I won't bother picking apart everything, but I will take note of your use of the word "Fair". Fair is a relative term, and many backers of the FairTax prefer it simply because it would remove the ability of the Federal government to decide for the masses what "fair" is. It also empowers politicians to favor their lobbying friends employers; an entire elite army of high-paid individuals isn't maintained in DC just to advocate for animal rights. They're there because their existance results in profit -- often obtained through regulation and changed to the tax code. Just look at the shake-down of private equity groups for campaign money and scoring political points! They pretend to change their minds after a small army of economists tell them that it'd do more economic harm than good to raise their taxes, but we all know what really happened was an appropriate amount of campaign money was pledged -- and many Democrats still haven't changed their tune regardless. If you really think the tax code exists to improve equality and economic efficiency, then.. well.. Intermediate Micro or Public Econ at a local university might help, but if you really trust the politicians that much, then maybe it wouldn't.

Not to mention, DOSGuy, the Supreme Court ruled the existance of your employer to be unconstitutional. Socialist wealth redistribution at the direction of the central government was clearly not the intention of the constitutions framers, our founding fathers. Congress then had to spool up the propaganda machine and, thanks partly to a huge political miscalculation, we were given the Sixteenth Amendment. God Bless America.


RE: IRS is not needed
By retrospooty on 8/4/2007 9:43:33 AM , Rating: 3
I like the idea of a flat tax. There are several different and fair ways to implement it, but honestly the issue we have in this country is NOT the collection of tax, but the distribution of collected tax. Our govt. wastes so much it is rediculous, much of the money goes to large corporations in one way or another through so many different channels it criminal, and we all ignore it. Can anyone guess why we are paying Haliburton 50 million dollars for rebuilding a bombed out bridge in Iraq when the Iraqi company that built it in the first place has bid 500 thousand for the same exact job (yes, Haliburton bid 100x the amout and won the bid, and this happans all over the place, not just inn Iraq)? Yes that is what is going on, and always has. not to single out the Bush administration, this has gone on longer than any of us have been alive, Democrats do it too.

One of the major issues this country rebelled against England for was "taxation without representation" and we are right back in the same boat, only we are doing it to ourselves now. Sad.


RE: IRS is not needed
By tjr508 on 8/4/2007 1:25:43 PM , Rating: 2
I assume you mean KBR as Halliburton is strictly an oilfield service company and does not build bridges. Even if Halliburton still owned KBR (which they don't) that's just as unfair as saying you saw an offencive show on the General Electric channel, or that Kraft smokes are more dangerous than previously thought.


RE: IRS is not needed
By retrospooty on 8/4/2007 9:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
I am not sure... It was news from the 1st year of the war. I was not aware HB doesnt do that anymore. Either way, the point remains the same. The govt is screwing us.


RE: IRS is not needed
By Deinonych on 8/4/2007 4:44:28 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly.

http://www.fairtax.org

It's more than a simple "consumption tax." There are deductions for those under the poverty line, and corporate welfare ceases to exist.


RE: IRS is not needed
By Ringold on 8/5/2007 4:40:20 AM , Rating: 2
Not quite 'deductions'; every month, a family would, based on its size, get a check from the government for an amount equal to the consumption taxes paid on the amount of goods that would be consumed to maintain the poverty level for that family.

In other words, zero taxes around the poverty level, negative taxes below it, and everybody else pays in.

Not to mention, drug dealers, organized crime, and the other millions of Americans/illegals that avoid federal income taxes? Guess what? Next time they'd go shopping, they'd be paying taxes. And foreign visitors? They'd be paying it too, except they wouldn't be getting the prebate. That all means current tax payers burden would sink as many freeloaders get put back in to the system.


RE: IRS is not needed
By qrhetoric on 8/5/2007 12:52:49 AM , Rating: 2
Didn't Hari Seldon get rid of the Junta with that scheme?


RE: IRS is not needed
By Shyster1 on 8/5/2007 12:28:31 PM , Rating: 1
The endurance of a scam always seems to be directly proportional to the outlandishness of its claims. The so-called "Fair" tax/national retail sales tax scam is no different; as it's been around for quite some time and its claims are, even as compared to most scams, like the Nigerian money scam, outlandish.

First, the one thing the FairTax boobs never quite seem to get around to discussing is the issue of compliance, or the fact that the revenue "promises" they make are premised on the assumption that there will be no compliance problems. That, in a nutshell, is more out of this world than even the wackiest LSD-induced fantasy. Currently, states with sales taxes that are in the single digits as a percentage of pre-tax sales price have significant compliance issues; given that the "Fair" Tax NST will be imposed at a rate of approximately 50% of the pre-tax retail price (the NRST is "sold" by the snake-oil salesmen as a 23% tax, on a tax-inclusive basis, meaning that the NRST would be 23% of the post-tax price; however, since all of us are accustomed to the usual state sales tax, which is always expressed on a tax-exclusive basis, i.e., as a percentage of the pre-tax price, the NRST should also be expressed on a tax-exclusive basis - anything else is just more smoke and mirrors to further blind the already gullible public), the compliance problems will be significantly greater than those currently faced by the states. The brookings Institution has a number of good articles regarding the lunacy of the NRST, which can be found on their website - as some of those articles indicate, a retail sales tax that exceeds 10% will be subject to so much evasion that it will be impossible to enforce. Somehow, however, the "Fair" taxers never quite seem to come to grips with this "little" issue.

Second, if Congress could be trusted to not monkey with the NRST for special-interest purposes, we wouldn't need it in the first place because Congress would never have monkeyed with the income tax. The simple fact of the matter is that the so-called "Fair" tax would be simple for all of about 2 years (the basic term for a Representative), after that, it would quite quickly degenerate into the same convoluted monster we have today in the income tax. For example, first there would be an exclusion for home sales, then there would be endless monkeying with the "prebate" nonsense one poster bandied about, both in terms of the amount, special carve-outs and gross-ups for favored groups ("Senator" Clinton and her fellow thieves in the NY contingent would very quickly get the prebate amount indexed for the higher cost of living in their only power-base, NYC), and similar sorts of nonsense that gets stuffed into the income tax code.

Third, the NRST would through away one of the most cost-effective, beneficial compliance mechanisms - third party withholding and information reporting. The amount of underreporting under the income tax for income that is subject to withholding and information reporting (mainly wages) is about 1%, for income not subject to any third-party verification/reporting, that number jumps to about 30%. Now, since the NRST is collected at a single point, the retailer, from the consumer, and since consumers will clearly not be required to file analogues to Form 1099 to report all of their purchases (why not? Because one of the vaunted "selling" points of the NRST is no more tax returns, and requiring consumers to report purchases would undo that promise), and thus there will be no cross-check mechanism like third-party reporting to ensure that the retailer is properly reporting all of his taxable sales. Given that the retailer will be in possession of a substantial amount of money collected in the form of NRST, only a truly benighted fool would think that not a single retailer will be tempted to keep that money for himself and lie on his sales tax returns. But then again, the Fair-taxers are quite a sorry bunch of benighted fools.

Fourth, nary a Fair-taxer is willing to discuss the opportunities that tax will provide to organized crime. The U.S. already spends a significant percentage of revenues derived from the fuel excise tax on compliance enforcement and cracking down on organized crime involvement, and that's just for one little excise tax imposed on a limited commodity, and collected from about 1,000 or so points in the U.S. Expand those same problems to a tax imposed on all consumer commodities, and collected from literally hundreds of thousands of retailers, and you have a wet-dream for organized crime and a nightmare for tax enforcement.

Which of course, leads us back to the outright lie about "doing away" with the IRS. B.S.! (please pardon my french). The compliance problems and the complications added in by the inevitable monkeying by Congress will be so severe that the Fair Tax will, if anything, increase the amount of resources going to the IRS (or whatever the NRST whackos change its name to in a fig-leaf attempt to prove that they were able to "get rid of" the IRS); they will most certainly not allow us to do away with the bureacracy needed to enforce compliance with federal taxes.


RE: IRS is not needed
By Ringold on 8/5/2007 3:43:50 PM , Rating: 3
Shyster, what an appropriate username. Which lobbying firm butters your bread, eh?

Assuming that perhaps you are in fact just massive ill-informed and have not actually read anything relating to the FairTax, I'll go ahead and pick things apart, since it just so happens that the things you say the FairTax movement hasn't ever got around to discussing does, in fact, discuss it constantly as people come out of the woodwork with the same bunk claims day after day.

Compliance: Try as I might with Google, I was able to find no evidence of supposed compliance problems with sales taxes. This makes sense, as since the early 1900s it's been known that it'd be easier to enforce a national sales tax than it would be to create a massive government agency that attemps to brow-beat individuals in to being honest at their own detriment. Given that most consumers spend most of their money at large retail chain stores, who have employees with zero incentive to try to siphon off tax money, and with corporate-level accountants who risk jail time for doing so, that you'd bring up compliance in a sales tax system that already works great is already damaging to your credibility.

Rate calculation: I don't know where you pull 50% out of, after accounting for embedded taxes, the "gullible public" won't see a large change in price. Regardless, right on the receipt will still show the amount of taxes paid. It's baked in to the prices primarily to make it simple for consumers -- unless you really want to mentally multiply your shopping cart by 1.23. People argue semantics over the way the calculation is done; FairTax.org debunks this repeatedly.

On the Brookings Institute, it'd be nice to read them if they didn't want $29.50, but there is $20,000,000 worth of research done by respected economists available at FairTax.org, available for free; research that places like FactCheck.org refuse to listen to.

As for manipulation, that's possible with anything, but we've got nearly a century of manipulation built in to the current tax code. I see it as a plus that it would be reset, not a negative. They would have to amend the bill the insert exclusions, but that would also require raising the tax for everything else; I'd say that it'd be therefore easier to oppose a tax increase/manipulation under the FairTax, as even the most liberal economists would have to concede any such monkeying would hurt the economy, as opposed to the current system which is so complex it's hard to get the message across.

Again with your third point you try to drag up compliance. First of all, for every dollar of revenue collected about .30 is spent on compliance, and total economic loss is around .50 or more. That's cost effective only by government standards. Of course retailers would be tempted to skim, but the largest amount of sales, which flow through national chains, would not face that risk. Additionally, the IRS has no mechanism at all to tax the regretably huge black market. A sales tax nails them every time they buy their pimpin' suits. To think that organized crime would somehow spring to life when fuel taxes are already a HUGE portion of the cost of fuel seems misguided.

As for doing away with the IRS -- yes, it would. Or nearly so. Your fundamental assumption there is that "monkeying" occurs right off the bat, rather than taking another century to slowly creep back in, which also assumes it's as easy to monkey with this as with the income tax code. That's also assuming that watching a small number of large firms somehow takes the same resources as watching the firms AND watching all of its individual employees for full compliance. It's always easier to get corporate compliance than it is to get it on an individual basis.

Finally, I'd like to say that while you did a good job highlighting all the false weaknesses that always get trotted out, you failed to address the economic benefits projected to result from the switch to the FairTax as incentives realign. Perhaps the reason for that is.. the total lack of credible research that tries to deny it? No matter what amount of tinkering Congress ever did do, the removal of disincentives on investment (cap-ex for corporations, starting a business for private citizens, and financial market investment for workers) returns business decision making to "What makes the most economic sense?" rather than "How can I minimize my tax bill?" The projected benefits are significant.

Ultimately, I'm not sure you've read the bill or read the work at FairTax.org, as your partisan attack has a whiff of being based on biased third party "reseach". I'd suggest doing some for yourself.


RE: IRS is not needed
By Polynikes on 8/5/2007 11:54:48 PM , Rating: 2
The issue here is not what's wrong with the tax system, it's what's wrong with the retards who work for the IRS. Good job getting everyone off on an unrelated topic.


RE: IRS is not needed
By Oregonian2 on 8/6/2007 2:05:31 PM , Rating: 2
Instead of 100,000 people collecting taxes there would be more like 40 million collecting it (plus another 50,000 to administer the sales tax). Particularly a hardship on those states with no sales tax at all (like mine). Gets even trickier because each person will have a different sales tax rate depending upon one's total income. They aren't going to give up having taxes be exponentially progressive rather than only linearly progressive that flat-rate sales taxes are.

In any case, saving a mere billion dollars isn't worth the trouble. Too insignificant amount of money (in U.S. Government terms).


Most fair
By INeedCache on 8/4/2007 11:45:45 AM , Rating: 2
The best and most fair tax solution is a flat tax with no deductions. You pay a percentage of your income as tax, and everyone pays the same percentage. Do your taxes on a postcard, and do away with nearly all of the IRS and bloated tax code.




RE: Most fair
By phil126 on 8/4/2007 12:46:48 PM , Rating: 1
NO tax system is fair. The only people to pay taxes are the middle class and poor. Most wealthy people earn most of their money off capital gains. People like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, M. Jordan , Trump... Show virtually no income on their W2. All their money comes from capital gains which is taxed at a much lower level (especialy when Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid,... are taken into account). I am considering having my next employer pay me soley in stock. Then my kids can go to school for free and I can apply for all sorts of government grants since I will offically be below the poverity line.


RE: Most fair
By gramboh on 8/4/2007 3:59:22 PM , Rating: 2
But what if the markets tank and you take capital losses instead of income? That is one of the reasons capital gains are taxed at a lower rate (same as here in Canada). It is also to encourage investment and savings behaviour. Yes, the rich benefit from this type of tax behaviour, but so do prudent middle class investors (like myself).


RE: Most fair
By BMFPitt on 8/5/2007 12:00:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am considering having my next employer pay me soley in stock.
That would still be taxable income. Capital gains would only apply to increases in value before you sold the stock.


RE: Most fair
By Ringold on 8/5/2007 4:56:11 AM , Rating: 2
A little liberal kool-aid, there, bud. Allow me to correct the lies that you've been told.

You say the poor pay taxes? The fact is, those anywhere near the poverty line face a negative tax rate. Google is your friend.

Furthermore: (2004 data)
--Pop-- --% of Income Taxes-- --Income Range--
Bottom 50%.....3.3%.............< $30,122
Top 1%........36.98% ............$328,049
Top 10%........68.19%............$99,112
http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=6

Going back to 1999, the bottom half of workers share of federal income has been shrinking.

Given that it's a safe assumption a Democrat would call someone earning $100,000 a year rich, or at least not middle class, that sort of busts up your thesis of the rich paying nthing when in fact they pay nearly 70% of the tax burden while those in what the Democrats really do call the middle class pay next to nothing.

Additionally it's that top 10% that drives the economy and creates jobs, not the bottom 50%, so while it may be hard to get blood from a turnip at the lower end, targeting the top bracket for tax hikes has to be done with the knowledge it hurts the bottom 90% probably more than it does the top 10%.


RE: Most fair
By Lanth on 8/4/2007 6:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
We have a tax system similar to that in New Zealand.

There are a few tax brackets:
0-38,000 - 19.5%
38,000 - 60,000 - 33%
60,001+ - 39%

Tax is automatically taken out of your paycheck based on what you would earn in a full year at that particular rate. So if you're on a fixed salary, the tax that comes out is always exactly correct. If you're doing a job where your pay changes each week (eg, work 7 hours 1 week, 10 hours the next), then it assumes that you'd work that many hours each week for the whole year and then tax at that rate. This can lead to over-taxation at the end of the year if you worked some 40-hour weeks but mostly only 7-hour weeks - you were overtaxed for the 40-hour weeks.

In those cases, at the end of the year you ask for a personal tax summary and the IRD calculates everything for you. If you owe money you have to pay it, if they owe you money they pay it. You are not forced to ask for a personal tax summary, so if you think you might end up owing them money, don't ask for one and you won't be charged the tax.

That's it. Everyone is taxed automatically and there is no need to tax preparation services etc. There are a few modest deductions available - if you qualify for these you simply apply for a personal tax summary and the IRD does all the work for you.

There is also a 12.5% goods and services tax (GST) applied to all retail products and services, but because it is a flat rate that is applied across the board, all retail shops include it in their sales figures, so if it says $20 on the shelf, that's how much it costs when you get to the counter - none of this malarky about needing to add on sales tax at the register.

Business tax etc is more complicated, but personal taxation for the majority of people is completely painless and no one has to fill out any forms (except the IRD who does all the work), and no one has to worry about a large unexpected tax bill at the end of the year because it is automatically taken out of your paycheck.

I'll also add that in NZ everyone gets a mandatory 4 weeks paid holiday leave, 10 days sick leave and 11 public holidays per year. We also don't invade other countries to get their oil under a pretense of terrorism.


RE: Most fair
By mdogs444 on 8/4/2007 7:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There are a few tax brackets:


Thats the part I do not agree with, partially because it directly affects me. Here is my reasoning, whether you agree or not is your perogative...

I am a college graduate, with two bachelors degrees, and work about 75 hrs per week between two jobs....by CHOICE.

My main career job i make roughly $74,000/year, and my second job as a financial advisor (part time) I make about $30,000/year. I am in a very high income tax bracket because of the amount i pull in per year. If i only had 1 job and made 74 or 30 thousand, i would be in a lower percentage tax bracket. I feel like i get punished by paying a much higher percentage than some people. Why? Exactly - why should i have to pay a higher percentage because I want to bust my ass and work two jobs. Why should I be punished because i went to college, did well, and made wise career choices? I would not be opposed to paying the same percentage as everyone else, and that would amount to a high dollar amount than the average person. But for me to pay a higher percentage because i choose to work two jobs and plan for the future? Not right at all.


RE: Most fair
By xphile on 8/5/2007 1:34:49 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you totally. The single simple thing that's missing in your scenario and in many tax systems that would level things out is an allowance value for EFFORT. If I earn your same annual income of $104,000 in my single employment job working say 40 hours a week pretty much every tax system I know of simply says hey guys, great you both earned $104,000 you both pay the same tax.

In tiered tax systems the employer at the first job is not bound to take any consideration for any secondary income and in most systems taxes you as though that first income will be your only income for the year, thus most of these same systems have higher tax rates for declaring to your second employer that its your second job, in an effort to try and even out the fact that on an annual basis that tiered tax system is going to kick the hell out of that second income as it gets added onto the first and moves you up through the tiered tax rates. You still pay the same total tax as me (in the example) it just has to be done differently, but it invariably has the effect of making people looking to take on second jobs believe they are getting penalised for it.

In the case of the same tax being payable on the same total income the governments owning such systems (like here in New Zealand and many others) say no you aren't being penalised and explain as above, but in fact in reality the loss of all that extra time in earning the same income is not taken into account. Neither more importantly, is the dedication of the individual in helping the economy of the country by adding further output to the Gross Domestic Product.

This is where fairness in a more progressive and enlightened tax system and economy should dictate something to the effect of saying "If you are prepared to work more than the standard defined full working week (say 40 hours) by secondary and subsequent employment, then such hours in those extra jobs that exceed the standard working week should be taxed at (I'm going to for arguments sake say 50%) of the normal tiered tax rate that would apply to the same value of earnings if it was earnt within a standard working week.

So you'd pay the same tax as me on your primary income and only half the tax I would pay on the remaining $30,000. It's a simple enough thing to do and it would really stimulate the desire to take on additional work, and more properly reward those especially in positions where they do 2, 3 or even more jobs to make ends meet. Once they'd done 40 hours total, the rest of the hours worked would be taxed at half the rate of the difference between the tax on those 4o hours and the tax someone else paid earning the same total weekly income in just 40 hours.

Make great sense in many ways but it will never happen - governments are too stupid.


RE: Most fair
By Fritzr on 8/5/2007 2:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
So you're saying that if I collect $8 per hour of work and Tony collects $16 per hour of work that I am entitled to a lower tax rate because I require twice as many hours to gain the same income?

When you start throwing in "Adjustment for effort" This is what it really means.

If someone can earn as much working 30hrs as I would earn working 200hrs, more power to them. That "unfairness" is inherent in the current system where pay per hour is not a fixed amount. To "fix" this problem it is necessary to mandate a single national hourly pay rate. Employers will not be allowed to pay anyone more than the mandated wage. When this is done then it won't matter whether you work 1 or 5 jobs, you get the same pay for the same hours.

Personally I am on the low end of the pay spectrum & do not consider it unfair that some are unable to meet budget on "only" 8 or 9 times my pretax income. If I chose to expend the effort to qualify for and obtain that income, the current pay system allows me to do so.


RE: Most fair
By Oregonian2 on 8/6/2007 2:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why? Exactly - why should i have to pay a higher percentage because I want to bust my ass and work two jobs. Why should I be punished because i went to college, did well, and made wise career choices? I would not be opposed to paying the same percentage as everyone else, and that would amount to a high dollar amount than the average person. But for me to pay a higher percentage because i choose to work two jobs and plan for the future? Not right at all.


Reason is simple. You have the money to be taken by the government. Government wants money, it knows how to spend your money better than you do. If you have any, it wants it. Government goal is for all to make the same amount "net". Doesn't matter of some went to college at great personal expense and effort for 9 years while making no money whatsoever in their career (which my wife did) or others dropped out of high school to flip burgers. All are people and deserve the same pay -- and they'll take the excess to help make this happen. I obviously mean this sarcastically, but unfortunately it's basically based on fact, I think -- at least in terms of philosophical intent.


RE: Most fair
By Oregonian2 on 8/6/2007 2:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is also a 12.5% goods and services tax (GST) applied to all retail products and services, but because it is a flat rate that is applied across the board, all retail shops include it in their sales figures, so if it says $20 on the shelf, that's how much it costs when you get to the counter - none of this malarky about needing to add on sales tax at the register.


We have that part covered here in Oregon (USA) where we've no sales taxes at all. Shelf price is the cash register price. Spooks me when I visit other states and get charged more. We just get hit with high state income taxes and high property (real estate) taxes.


Personal Income Tax is Unconstitutional
By rbowling on 8/4/2007 9:53:42 AM , Rating: 2
The personal income tax has no legal basis anyway and IRS lawyers just lost a jury trial 12-0 to a lawyer who refused to pay the personal income tax in Shreveport, LA.

http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_...

The important parts of the article:

"Essentially, he argued that income is not necessarily any money that comes to a person, but rather categories such as profit and interest.

He said the free exchange of labor for compensation has been upheld as a right by the Supreme Court, but that doesn't necessarily make the compensation income."

"The jury in U.S. District Court in Louisiana voted 12-0 to find Cryer, of Shreveport, not guilty of failure to file income taxes for two years. He had been indicted in 2006 on charges of failing to pay $73,000 to the IRS in 2000 and 2001. The next step in his personal case will be up to the IRS and prosecutors, if they choose to continue the issue, he said."

"'There are three points that are important,' he told WND. 'There's no law making the average working man liable [for income taxes], there's no law or regulation that allows the IRS to contend that earnings are 100 percent profit received in exchange for nothing, and the right to earn a living through any lawful occupation is a constitutionally protected fundamental right, and it is exempt from taxation.'

Spokesman Robert Marvin in Washington's IRS office told WND the Internal Revenue Code provides for taxation on salaries or wages, but when pressed for a specific citation, or constitutional provision, he said, 'I can't comment.'"




RE: Personal Income Tax is Unconstitutional
By FITCamaro on 8/4/2007 11:30:35 AM , Rating: 2
So how do you propose we fund the government and run the country?

They proved that the system of states just giving money to the government to help run it doesn't work very early in our countries history.

It's the system we have for now until its changed. I wish I could keep my paycheck the same as anyone. But until its changed and a new system is in place, I'll continue to pay my taxes and not break the law.


RE: Personal Income Tax is Unconstitutional
By rbowling on 8/4/2007 12:01:28 PM , Rating: 2
Taxing interest income or capital gains or especially corporate profits is still legal as far as I can tell. Local and state sales taxes are legal. A personal income tax on the exchange of labor for wages isn't the only way for a government to generate revenue. For the first hundred years of our nation's existence it didn't exist.

Besides, the question shouldn't be "How do you propose we fund the government?" but "Is the government illegally taking our money?" They can figure out how to fund things after they cease engaging in large scale theft based on the ignorance and fear of the citizenry.


RE: Personal Income Tax is Unconstitutional
By Ringold on 8/5/2007 5:11:27 AM , Rating: 2
I get the idea the lawyer is trying to express, I think, and agree with the Supreme Court's decision that ruled income taxes as unconstitutional, but I fail to see how the 16th Amendment doesn't end the entire debate regarding the governments ability to tax?


By Fritzr on 8/7/2007 6:08:28 AM , Rating: 2
The argument most often used is:
The 16th Amendment would make an income tax legal if the 16th Amendment had been ratified. However the 16th Amendment was not ratified and for that reason any laws based on this Amendment are unconstitutional.

Of course each time one these cases has been heard by the Supreme Court, the 16th Amendment has been cited by the Court. Regardless of what the tax protesters may believe, the ratification of the 16th Amendment has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

While I cannot remember the details and don't feel like doing the research right now, there was some controversy at the time the 16th Amendment was declared to be ratified. There is an ongoing movement that does not agree with the way it was ratified and maintain that they are correct and that the Supreme Court needs to reverse it's position and de-ratify the 16th Amendment

This latest decision was a Jury decision in a State District Court. It has no effect on Federal law & there is the further complication that unless specifically directed a jury is not required to rule in accordance with established law when reaching a verdict. One of the vagaries of the Jury Trial system is that unwritten laws can be enforced and waivers not normally allowed by law can be granted, by a jury's decision to not follow the letter of the law. Will be interesting to see how well this lawyer fares in the Federal Court system.


RE: Personal Income Tax is Unconstitutional
By Spuke on 8/4/2007 3:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But until its changed and a new system is in place, I'll continue to pay my taxes and not break the law.
Go read the article. He didn't break the law by not paying. There is no such law. That's part of the point he's trying to make. We have a constitutional right to be compensated by a legal corporation and constitutional rights can't be taxed (according to his arguments). He was acquitted 12-0 by a jury so unless the government wins an appeal (which they haven't appealed BTW), the lawyer just set a legal precedence to not have to pay income taxes in this particular instance. That instance would be when we work for a legal corporation, our income can't be taxed legally (because is NO law saying we have to do this) or constitutionally.

If you want to pay then pay but I would rather not. I would rather the government be smaller and have the states take back the control they are supposed to have.


By Chernobyl68 on 8/5/2007 11:45:16 AM , Rating: 2
was it a federal case or a state case?


By Fritzr on 8/7/2007 6:40:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you want to pay then pay but I would rather not. I would rather the government be smaller and have the states take back the control they are supposed to have.


Abolishing the IRS & Income Tax will not reduce the taxes the government receives. It will merely shift the source to another tax.

Reducing government spending will do a lot more to reduce taxes than would eliminating the IRS.

In theory the states do control the Federal Government. The Representatives and Senators in theory look to their home state for directives. In practice the voters do not know that Federal Gifts are simply a refund of their own Federal Taxes minus the cost of collection and redistribution. This allows the Congressman & Senator to do whatever they like as long as they tell their voters that they are giving the voters this Federal Money at no cost to the taxpayer.

Invest in an educational campaign to teach voters where that Federal Cash comes from and what is the real cost of Free Money and you will see the cost of Federal Government plummet :)


The IRS is a fraud
By Lambsbreath on 8/4/2007 6:47:56 PM , Rating: 2
In 1913 central bankers with their pawns in govt. pushed for the federal reserve. Contrary to popular belief, the federal reserve is no more federal than federal express. It is a private owned institution. They lend money to the govt. with interest. Previously, the country printed their own money backed by silver and gold. Long story short. All your income tax goes to pay this interest and never trickles down passed that. Kennedy wrote a bill to give the power back to govt. to
issue money. Look what happened to him. See "Freedom to Fascism" by AAron Russo. Don't take my word. Research!




RE: The IRS is a fraud
By Ringold on 8/5/2007 5:29:23 AM , Rating: 2
While a critical eye towards the IRS is justified, attacking central backing is going a little off the deep end.

It's a fundamental principle of growth, banking, economics, etc, that price stability leads to more growth than does an economy with wild swings in the value of the currency.

Here's the problem with the gold standard. First of all, how much is gold worth? It changes daily. Second, okay, prices are stable, a car is $100, say.

Then, holy cow! A billion dollars worth of gold discovered in Mountain X. Massive inflation. The gold and silver brought to Spain from the New World wrought so much economic damage that Spain, well, still sucks even today.

Or scenario B, only a trickle of gold and silver is added to reserves. Either you start killing babies and making them in to bio-fuel, or you're about to face a condition that strikes fear in to the heart of all economists -- deflation!

And yes, the Federal Reserve is it's own entity, but it exists and operates at the leisure and ultimate direction of Congress. Any profits it accrues MUST be returned to Treasury. It is not a profit-seeking entity, as it often is forced to take losses and stand against the wind at various times to protect against systemic risk -- such as when the Bank of New York's computers failed in 99 I believe it was and the Fed had to loan hundreds of billions to cover Bony's ass while it fixed its problems, or in Dec of 99 when it had massive amounts of cash deployed around the nation in the event of a Y2K-related crash of the banking system, or on Sept 12, 2001, when a few volunteer central bankers at the New York Federal Reserve spent the night in the cordoned-off bank building so that when the financial markets opened the next day they would be there to conduct open market operations and protect the banking system from collapse.

Final factual error would be that the Reserve loans the Treasury money. It does not. In fact, the Treasury shows up now and then and dumps on its own it's debt on the market. The free market sets the interest rate by deciding how much it's willing to pay for it's bonds. Treasury collects its money and goes home. In theory they're supposed to care what interest rate the bonds sell for, but in practice, come hell or high water, when Uncle Sam needs a few billion by closing time, they take what the market gives them.

The Fed Reserve can/does temporarily/permanently buys/sells government securities, but not to raise capital for the government but instead primarily to keep the federal funds rate at the target rate.

The Federal Reserve provides a vital economic service, and few would dispute it, and none can really dispute it with economic studies.


RE: The IRS is a fraud
By Shyster1 on 8/5/2007 12:29:58 PM , Rating: 2
That is the purest of rot. Think not? Go read the federal reserve act.


RE: The IRS is a fraud
By Lambsbreath on 8/5/2007 1:55:08 PM , Rating: 2
The federal reserve act... So who makes sure they follow? Not
congress. I really hope you don't get all your facts from the
mainstream media. They are pure rot. Check out this page.

www.apfn.org/APFN/fed_reserve.htm


RE: The IRS is a fraud
By Ringold on 8/5/2007 3:54:22 PM , Rating: 2
Awesome! Ignore my huge post debunking yours, and respond to his single line. Good job.

As for that link, as is often the case in paranoia and propaganda, it's a bunch of half-truths. The Fed does not create money. Bankers do not create money. Only the Treasury has the ability to print money.

And the federal banks are foreign owned? The only possibly basis for that statement is that, yes, the banks have foreign precious metals in storage, used for trade purposes. The Reserve owns the Reserve.

As for fed bankers "owning" the media through "calling in their loans"; I've personally never seen a callable loan myself, the bonds that are callable aren't callable in that direction, so to speak.

And it seems to say there is an "interest" on our money. If by "interest" they mean inflation, that's inherent in any currency, no matter what it's based on. It says there'd be no inflation and no interest, but I'd like to see how loans are compensated and what happens when either gold reserves increase, the demand for gold slackens or increases, and the population increases.

For the love of god, pick up a Money & Banking textbook.


Um... 5th Paragraph...
By xphile on 8/4/2007 3:55:26 AM , Rating: 2
... a follow-up on why they did or did comply...

Gee now it's 100% :-)




RE: Um... 5th Paragraph...
By rdeegvainl on 8/4/2007 6:14:41 AM , Rating: 2
Guess maybe they are simplifying the choices, hope it transfers over to the tax forms.
Form 1 EZ
Did you or did you pay taxes and how much.


RE: Um... 5th Paragraph...
By xphile on 8/5/2007 12:57:45 AM , Rating: 2
LOL very good I like it, that's extremely funny :-)


we have been duped.
By smokedturkey on 8/4/2007 10:32:16 PM , Rating: 2
Also, wages is defined as compensation NOT income. The tax is illegal. Income is earned interest and profit from sales.




RE: we have been duped.
By Ringold on 8/5/2007 5:32:22 AM , Rating: 2
In this case, unfortunately "income" is defined as whatever the guy with the M16 says it's defined as. ;)

http://tn3-2.deviantart.com/fs13/300W/f/2007/042/e...


By Samus on 8/4/2007 5:30:59 PM , Rating: 2
we need to grow up and adopt a fair tax system, i'm tired of paying my accountant to do my quarterly's /self employed




Irony
By Ringold on 8/5/2007 5:50:29 AM , Rating: 2
Am I the only one that thought it ironic that the government agency responsible for carrying out social engineering on behalf of Congress fell victim to.. social engineering?




sheeple
By smokedturkey on 8/5/2007 10:51:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In this case, unfortunately "income" is defined as whatever the guy with the M16 says it's defined as. ;) http://tn3-2.deviantart.com/fs13/300W/f/2007/042/e...


unfortunately, that is not an M16 that is a pistola.
Also why we have our Constitutional right to bear arms...
to protect ourselves against a tyranical government.
I'm also glad I don't need to depend on sheeple like YOU!




yikes
By nekobawt on 8/6/2007 6:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing like a hair-raising debate on taxes to remind me why I ran screaming from pursuing an education in accounting.

Getting back on topic, sorta, as a government employee, I can somewhat sympathize with the IRS employees who knew they were breaking the rules by giving out their password and did it anyway. Granted, I work for the DES, and on a state level, not federal, but after a while, you just stop caring about the details and do whatever you can to make the workload less painful. On top of that is the constant flux of policies' finer nuances, without anyone necessarily telling you about them.

Data security is obviously a big deal, though, and as a citizen the (apparent) general apathy at the IRS about it does alarm me a bit, but as a "guv'min employee", it hardly surprises me. Especially with the workload they must have to deal with.




social engineering
By MisterChristopher on 8/8/2007 5:32:21 AM , Rating: 2
I understand that Wiki says social engineering is related to tricking people into giving up confidential information especially related to computers; but that doesn't make sence to me. Social engineering was something that I learned about in history class. People create laws and regulations which had impacts on the social structures in our society. Where did this change?




"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton











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