From Our Blog

Comments from the InformationWeek Weblog.
Proposed IRS Rule Change Could Open The Floodgates

This is another one of the Bush administration's sell-outs to business. It is Pandora's box, and the poor fools who consent to revealing their data are greatly increasing the probability of identity theft and severe damage to their credit status. Meanwhile, our gutless Congress will do nothing to make business users of our personal data financially responsible for safeguarding it. --Joseph M. Firestone

As far as government is concerned, our personal data is just a commodity ... to be gathered and sold. The real downside to this is that the taxpayer really has no recourse. I can't refuse to fill out tax forms to protect my identity. They would pick me up and toss me into prison. --Michael Howard

This appears to be another blatant display of the federal government pandering to corporate special interest groups who actually own and control our government as evidenced by the recently disclosed lobbying scandals. I don't want my government sharing any of my tax return information with third parties, regardless of any purported cost savings. If this ill-conceived program is implemented, there's a strong likelihood that many taxpayers will misunderstand the ramifications of allowing such sharing. The IRS should stick to what it does best: collecting taxes, period! --Edward St. Thomas Jr.

Seems like a fair trade if it includes open disclosure of our legislators' records! Umm ... wait. That'll never happen. Never mind. --Rick Scott

I just finished doing my taxes online and it scares me the way it is now, but it seems safe and is a pretty convenient way for doing the inevitable. But I'd go back to paper forms in a minute if I thought the IRS or my tax preparation service were going to share my personal data. I trust the company I worked with more than the IRS at this point. --Gary Carper

As long as they're willing to share the money they receive for my info, I may consider it. But I would want about 75% of the profit. Not just a free tax filing. --Frank Walsh

The issue isn't opening up personal tax data in return for a discount. What it's about is taking one more step down a road to corporate fascism. Hey, as long as I can keep buying whatever the marketers tell me I want, that's fine by me. --Rick Schrenker

Ethics Can Be Elusive

It's naive to think that this kind of bribe-induced business doesn't go on, but the solution is simple ... just don't do it. I've worked in sales and consulting for a number of years, and I have a number of clients whose companies simply prevent them from accepting gratuities of any kind, even something as innocent as a free lunch. Seems like some leaders of big business have the same issues as some of our congressional representatives: They appear to lack a clear set of values that allow them to distinguish between right and wrong. --Jeff Baxter

Privacy Bills: Progress, Of Sorts

So with this legislation, the Democrats will be able to brag to their constituents about defending privacy rights--while they let the Bush administration subpoena Google for search records and spy illegally on all of us? Sounds like business as usual. --Michael