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Data privacy lessons from the IRS

In the fight for privacy, the IRS has made changes, announcing that sensitive information will be masked on all tax transcripts starting next month.  

Quoting Bleeping computer:

Once sensitive data on business tax transcripts will start being masked, the IRS says that the new tax transcripts will only show the following info:

  • Last four digits of any Employer Identification Number listed on the transcript: XX-XXX1234
  • Last four digits of any Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification Number listed on the transcript: XXX-XX-1234
  • Last four digits of any account or telephone number
  • First four characters of the first, and last name for any individual (first three characters if the name has only four letters)
  • First four characters of any name on the business name line
  • First six characters of the street address, including spaces
  • All money amounts, including wage and income, balance due, interest, and penalties

The new tax transcript will still contain an optional ID that matches the taxpayer (business or individual) to the transcript.

Why do we care?

Tactically, I liked this list because it’s a simple reference for those in the data management space.   If you needed a refresher, look no further than the IRS.

Here’s the other reason I like this move – it helps normalize this behavior and raises the bar.    If the IRS is doing it, everyone else better be too.   Call it cloud cover, or call it the tide rising, whichever weather related comparison you prefer. 

Source: Bleeping Computer