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WSU professor says IRS is breaking privacy laws

WSU professor says IRS is breaking privacy laws
The Internal Revenue Service is breaking privacy laws by data mining citizens’ information from social media, said a WSU professor.

Kimberly Houser, a clinical associate professor of business law, examines the privacy issues related to the IRS’s data analytics program. According to her research, the IRS is breaking several laws by mining large amounts of data from commercial and public data pools and social media platforms.

“They look for correlations between those convicted of fraud,” she said, “and apply it to people’s information from social media sites.”

Data mining is analyzing information and using algorithms to compute them, Houser explained. For example, a credit card company may track the places a person makes purchases the most, and what those purchases are. Advertisements online are then marketed toward their purchase history and interests.

The data the IRS mines is analyzed by an algorithm that looks for similarities in other citizens’ information. It continually changes and adapts.

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