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Medical Firm Sues IRS For 4th Amendment Violation In Records Seizure

timothy posted about a year ago | from the tell-me-again-why-you-hate-all-that-is-good dept.

Government 365

cold fjord writes "A healthcare provider has sued the Internal Revenue Service and 15 of its agents, charging they wrongfully seized 60 million medical records from 10 million Americans ... [The unnamed company alleges] the agency violated the Fourth Amendment in 2011, when agents executed a search warrant for financial data on one employee – and that led to the seizure of information on 10 million, including state judges. The search warrant did not specify that the IRS could take medical information, UPI said. And information technology officials warned the IRS about the potential to violate medical privacy laws before agents executed the warrant, the complaint said." Also at Nextgov.com.

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365 comments

Hazardous to our Health (1)

Jetra (2622687) | about a year ago | (#43770257)

I was expecting the CDC to pull this stunt, but the IRS?

They're just getting a head start on Obamacare. (3, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about a year ago | (#43770351)

I was expecting the CDC to pull this stunt, but the IRS?

They're just getting a head start on Obamacare - which they will be administering.

Ten million people's medical records? They now have a mandate to have EVERYBODY's.

Re:They're just getting a head start on Obamacare. (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about a year ago | (#43770455)

They now have a mandate to have EVERYBODY's.

Really now? Where in the legislation does it say that the IRS has the right to access health records?

Re:They're just getting a head start on Obamacare. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770515)

If you read it, you would know.

Re:They're just getting a head start on Obamacare. (5, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#43770525)

If you weren't making it up, you could link to the exact part of the law.

Re:They're just getting a head start on Obamacare. (4, Insightful)

adrn01 (103810) | about a year ago | (#43770889)

I believe part of the law states that insurance companies must spend a minimum of 80% of premiums on actual health care.
  How would the IRS, or whatever body is supposed to police that part of the law, verify what is ACTUALLY being spent on that, versus what the insurance companies are CLAIMING they spend?
  If seizing medical records en-masse was their solution, perhaps a better method might be needed. Still, that might be what is going on here.

Re:They're just getting a head start on Obamacare. (-1, Troll)

gmanterry (1141623) | about a year ago | (#43770815)

If you read it, you would know.

Nancy said we had to "pass it to find out what was in it". When you are a jillionaire insider trader, like her, you don't care what it says. You can buy your own hospital if you don't like ObamaCare.

Re:They're just getting a head start on Obamacare. (2, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#43770517)

They're just getting a head start on Obamacare - which they will be administering.

Would that be like the IRS targeting conservative, jewish and non-supporting AGW groups. I'm sure it was all fine, nothing like, to ensure that the "right message" is being presented by stifling dissenting views. Or seizing AP phone records, or going after commentators that are critical of Obama and Obamacare?

It's SO WEIRD to read stuff like this. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770597)

After all those years of the current anti-Obama crowd desperately defending the shamefully illegal shenanigans of GWB's administration, I just don't quite know how to react to seeing them implode over this Obama-related stuff.

Why couldn't you get this angry at Bush Corp when it was doing similar or worse stuff? Why did you try so hard to dismiss any criticism of the unlawful (and almost always far worse) behavior of people such as GWB, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, et al?

I'm not suggesting it is wrong for you to be critical of current events, because we should all be crying foul. But it would be nice if you objected when everyone does it, and not just when it's the other team.

Re:It's SO WEIRD to read stuff like this. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770619)

Why couldn't you get this angry at Bush Corp when it was doing similar or worse stuff

Can you point the rest of the world to where Bush n' Co, were doing the same deal as Nixon. That's right you can't. Though Obama and Co were, and are. While attempting to claim that "it's someone below me, I know nothing." Perhaps it was Sgt. Shultz that is really in charge of the whitehouse...one can't be too sure.

Re:It's SO WEIRD to read stuff like this. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770671)

I'll bite: How about the IRS actually has warrants, unlike the Bushies who just went ahead and did whatever they wanted sans warrant.

And that's just the tip of the Bushie's iceberg of evil.

Re:It's SO WEIRD to read stuff like this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770811)

Can you point the rest of the world to where Bush n' Co, were doing the same deal as Nixon.

How about you ask Valerie Plame, you asshat.

other than Cheney and Rumsfeld (1)

decora (1710862) | about a year ago | (#43770851)

both being in the Nixon whitehouse,
and Nixon using the power of the FBI to go after political opponents,
and Nixon going after the press,
and Nixon spying on opposition figures,
and Nixon being horribly wrong about war,

Lots of us were down on Bush, too. (4, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about a year ago | (#43770691)

Why couldn't you get this angry at Bush Corp when it was doing similar or worse stuff?

Lots of us were down on Bush, too.

You just probably thought we were lefties. B-)

Re: It's SO WEIRD to read stuff like this. (3, Insightful)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year ago | (#43770723)

Some of us are angry over both. The patriot act started the slippery slope....obama greased the slide.

Re: It's SO WEIRD to read stuff like this. (5, Insightful)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year ago | (#43770731)

Obama administration I mean. Gwb gave them a strong start...but they are continuing all of this. As a rule of thumb under gwb illegal atrocitied were perpatrated....under obama they are nice n legal.

Bush was a guy you could have a beer with (-1, Troll)

decora (1710862) | about a year ago | (#43770839)

Obama palled around with terrorists while my boy was dying in Viet Nam. or something.

Re:Bush was a guy you could have a beer with (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770861)

Yeah. Bush had a lot of beers while your boy was dying in Nam. That's coz Bush never went to Nam. His daddy got him a deferment, or he just ran and hid someplace, or something like that. Damn that Africa born socialist Obama.

Re:It's SO WEIRD to read stuff like this. (-1, Troll)

gmanterry (1141623) | about a year ago | (#43770849)

I sure don't give Obama or Bush a pass. They both are cut from the same cloth. We desperately need a third party here in the U.S. One that is middle of the road and is neither (Republican) the American Taliban or the (Democrats) spending my children's and grandchildren's future giving away free Obama phones and free Obama money (no taxes for 47%) to buy votes. Some people work... some people vote.

Re:It's SO WEIRD to read stuff like this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770871)

start an independent curmudgeon party and see if things turn out any better. I'd put my money on the curmudgeons.

Re:They're just getting a head start on Obamacare. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770547)

what's worse is that this will fail because they can not assert the 4th amendment for other people

Re:They're just getting a head start on Obamacare. (5, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43770577)

The IRS is the one that is charged with ensuring that everyone has insurance, not with keeping and maintaining medical records.

Lets use the ever popular car analogy. The Department of Motor Vehicles checks to make sure that you have car insurance. The Department of Motor Vehicles doesn't keep copies of the maintenance records, oil changes, refueling, car washes, and tune-ups. The IRS is like the DMV - they will check to make sure that you have insurance, they shouldn't have your health records. This is over the line.

I would hope your wouldn't actually want that. The most charitable thing you can say at the moment is that they apparently have more power than they can manage is a responsible way, let along legal way.

Re:They're just getting a head start on Obamacare. (5, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year ago | (#43770793)

The most charitable thing you can say at the moment is that they apparently have more power than they can manage is a responsible way, let along legal way.

It may be more accurate to say that certain IRS agents think they have far more power than they actually do and have let their mistake go to their heads.

Re:They're just getting a head start on Obamacare. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770901)

It's only a mistake if those involved, including their managers responsible for the inappropriate training, go to prison. Anything less shows they do in fact have the power.

Re:They're just getting a head start on Obamacare. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770717)

They're just getting a head start on Obamacare - which they will be administering.

Perhaps you'd rather see poor people die because they did not have medical care
because they were unable to afford it.

And if met above statement is true, I sincerely wish for you that you get terminal
cancer, soon, because you are a worthless self-centered piece of shit.

Re:Hazardous to our Health (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770359)

Obama's IRS. As Obama's major fluffer says, "the law is irrelevant"

Re:Hazardous to our Health (1)

stuntpope (19736) | about a year ago | (#43770551)

He stated the law was irrelevant in judging whether the actions were wrong or not. Illegal? Actions wrong. Legal? Actions wrong. He also said, “The activity was outrageous and inexcusable, and it was stopped and it needs to be fixed to ensure it never happens again.”

Understand now?

Re:Hazardous to our Health (1)

stuntpope (19736) | about a year ago | (#43770563)

This is in reference to the IRS actions regarding Tea Party organizations' tax-exempt applications, not the healthcare record story. The 501C4 imbroglio is what Coward referred to in comment about Pfeiffer's "the law is irrelevant" remark.

Re:Hazardous to our Health (1, Flamebait)

Freddybear (1805256) | about a year ago | (#43770647)

Read between the lines: "the law is irrelevant" so there will be no legal repercussions. It's the Chicago Way.

Re:Hazardous to our Health (5, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43770387)

Oh, it's more than that. The IRS is the key enforcer for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Your Next IRS Political Audit - The tax agency is getting vast new power in health care [wsj.com]
The IRS Is Accessing Your Health Records. You Trust Them? [forbes.com]

The US Government needs to get the problems at that agency fixed, now. Between this and the suppression of political groups going on [thedailybeast.com], this is intollerable and undemocratic. What did Franklin say? A Republic, if you can keep it?

The IRS’s Curious Immunity - It’s worse than the PATRIOT Act. [nationalreview.com]

Re:Hazardous to our Health (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#43770443)

The US Government needs to get the problems at that agency fixed, now.

What problem? The issues you are referring to are features of the IRS that led to it being chosen for its role as the key enforcer of the Affordable Care Act, not bugs that would lead those who passed that law to consider it unwise to give it that additional power.

Re:Hazardous to our Health (5, Insightful)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#43770461)

Sadly, the guys who idolize President Obama don't care about this story, or the many others. To them, it's just the conservatives/GOP showing their hatred of the first black president, nothing more.

So, I've given up hope that they will see the light of what this administration is like. They'll keep voting for guys like him, who will bring this country down very soon. There is no avoiding that fate. I'm not clamoring for revolution, but I think a civil war is coming.

Re:Hazardous to our Health (0)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#43770523)

Voting for a Republican is going to make it all better huh. After they kiss your wounded feelings, they are going to kick you in the cojones, amigo.

Re:Hazardous to our Health (3, Interesting)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#43770541)

Check my previous comments. I voted for a "third party" candidate with morals. One that would make you feel like a kid who was caught stealing a candy bar in comparison.

Also, check my sig. No political party should get a pass on corruption and deceit, yet both of the two main parties manage to do so because of people like you.

Re:Hazardous to our Health (1)

DKlineburg (1074921) | about a year ago | (#43770689)

unfortunately most people seem to automatically assume you are the opposite of what you say you have a dislike for. I am with you at this point. Both sides are being bad. I don't have a solution, and I don't like the way things appear to be headed.

Re:Hazardous to our Health (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770751)

Check my previous comments. I voted for a "third party" candidate with morals. One that would make you feel like a kid who was caught stealing a candy bar in comparison.

Also, check my sig. No political party should get a pass on corruption and deceit, yet both of the two main parties manage to do so because of people like you.

I haven't seen any third party candidate with morals, well the Greens may have morals, but their candidate is batshit crazy.

In fact in given my choice between voting for any of the third candidates, I'd vote Republican.

Re:Hazardous to our Health (0, Flamebait)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43770639)

Voting for a Republican is going to make it all better huh.

It has been pointed out many times before: If you want something approximating consistent media scrutiny of the executive branch in the last few decades, given the current values of the media, you need to have a Republican president. A large part of the media has been carrying water for the Obama administration from the start. The only thing that might be turning that around in any meaningful way is the AP scandal - What!? They spy on us too?

Re:Hazardous to our Health (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43770725)

OK, I might even buy that. I'm registered Republican. But the party is going to have to do a better job in terms of fielding candidates than the right wing-nut losers that they've been digging up. The Republicans have a number of center - right politicians with brains, the problem is the rest of the party has neither brains nor cojones.

Better than awful still better (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#43770823)

Voting for a Republican is going to make it all better huh.

No.

But it would have kept the IRS out of healthcare enforcement.

And it would have meant the entire population of the U.S. would not shortly be forced to buy the most expensive insurance policies (which is why all of the insurance companies backed Obamacare).

Re:Hazardous to our Health (4, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43770565)

It's not about Republican versus Democrat. Everywhere it counts they are the same. When it comes to fucking over the country they are bipartisan. They differ only on peripheral issues that, while important to the public, are irrelevant to the things which really matter to those who rule. Things like abortion, religion, racism, affirmative action, and gay marriage are just hot button issues used to divide the public so that the elite can rule us better. As long as we're hating each other over things that don't matter to our rulers then it's all good. You can give up though, it's hopeless. Every single time I pointed out how bad GW Bush was all any of his supporters had to say was "he's not as bad as those evil Democrats" and when I point out the fallacies of the Obama administration all I get is "at least he's better than those evil neo-cons!" People have their side and they are oblivious to anything other than how bad the other side is.

Re:Hazardous to our Health (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770781)

Only because the conservative are rapidly becoming irrelevant, and its God and Guns all the way!

Re:Hazardous to our Health (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | about a year ago | (#43770821)

It gets better. The IRS commissioner who was in charge when the IRS was denying tax-exempt status to right-wing political groups is now in charge of implementing Obamacare requirements. Naw, there won't be any partisan shenanigans. How dare you even think that? You wouldn't want your dear old granny to be denied that hip operation now would you?

Re:Hazardous to our Health (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770831)

Don't worry, with the IRS as the enforcement agency for Obamacare, the Government will have all of everybodies' medical records. How else will they know whom to deny gun rights?

New IRS dress code (1, Interesting)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#43770259)

When will the IRS start issuing jack boots to all agents? I didn't read TFA, but the summary seems to make it clear that someone understood that there was a potential HIPPA issue. Incompetence is one thing, but it sounds like this goes beyond that. I wonder who's going to take the fall for this one? There appears to be a bit of a vacuum developing in the upper echelon of the IRS.

Re:New IRS under Obamacare (3, Insightful)

Technician (215283) | about a year ago | (#43770299)

They are getting a head start on Obamacare where your medical care and finances are all part of the Government. Get used to it as the new norm if you use healthcare in the US.

Re:New IRS under Obamacare (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770719)

This is the Change and there is No Hope.

Thanks to all you cock sucking, Obama loving retards.

Re:New IRS dress code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770347)

No one will take the fall.

Re:New IRS dress code (5, Interesting)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#43770377)

When will the IRS start issuing jack boots to all agents?

I'd be more curious who gets the money if they win? From TFA:

The suit seeks $25,000 in compensatory damages, per violation. The recordsâ(TM) seizure could impact up to one in 25 Americans, UPI said.

I assume they will be passing that money to affected Americans?

Re:New IRS dress code (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#43770479)

You know the drill. The lawyers will get $120 million, the company that filed the suit will get $2-3 million, and everyone else will get 25 cents provided they show up in person to collect it.

Re:New IRS dress code (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#43770747)

$25k * 10M = $250b. That leaves ~$250b to go to the 10M Americans. Assuming $125M is taken off the top, that leaves $24,987.50 per American, or a $12.50 loss.

You seem to have got lost in the scale of this law suit. Even if the lawyer creamed a billion dollars, that's still only $100 per claiment - 0.4%

Re:New IRS dress code (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#43770545)

I assume they will be passing that money to affected Americans?

Suing the government for massive amounts of money, in terms of society as a whole, is about as productive as sending yourself a wire transfer. A bunch of fees and no net gain.

Any money the IRS would pay out, would simply have to be collected back from the people.

Re:New IRS dress code (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about a year ago | (#43770783)

It's a net gain for those collecting the money, in that the affected class is only a tiny percentage of the entire pool of taxpayers.

Re:New IRS dress code (3, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#43770873)

Yep. Which means the only real solution, and deterrent, is to place personal responsibility upon those who ordered and implemented these activities. Start firing people and taking away their cushy government pensions and benefits, instead of letting them resign into comfy retirement, and you'll start seeing change.

Re:New IRS dress code (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43770589)

When will the IRS start issuing jack boots to all agents?

I'd be more curious who gets the money if they win? From TFA:

The suit seeks $25,000 in compensatory damages, per violation. The recordsâ(TM) seizure could impact up to one in 25 Americans, UPI said.

I assume they will be passing that money to affected Americans?

Do they ever? No.

Why not jackboots? ATF is also under treasury. (2)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about a year ago | (#43770627)

When will the IRS start issuing jack boots to all agents?

Why not jackboots? ATF and Secret Service are also part of Treasury.

ATF has been the classic "jackbooted thugs" for most of their existence - ever since they got spun out of Internal Revenue in . They're "the revenuers" that enforced alcohol taxes with machine guns even before they and the FBI burned down a church camp in Waco over a $200 tax bill and shot a man's son and wife on Ruby Ridge over a $500 claim, inspiring the original NRA "Jackbooted Thugs" ad.

Secret Service has a history of incarcerating people and holding them incommunicado if they think they might be possibly be a threat to a high government official. (I knew one '60s radical who BECAME a '60s radical, a nice Jewish girl who, when still underage, was playing spy/counterspy with a friend in Grosse Point using their new toy CB walkie-talkies, totally unaware that JFK was passing through the Detroit area on his way to speak at a university graduation ceremony 50 miles away. Scooped off the street, thrown in a cell overnight, no mention of why, no phone call, no notice to parents, ...) They also harassed someone who, during the Vietnam protests, wrote "Piss on JFK" on a postcard. Reason given: "If enough people pissed on him it would kill him."

Why should the IRS be left without appropriate footwear?

Typos! ARRRRGH! (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about a year ago | (#43770661)

Correcting typos:

Spun out of Internal Revenue in 1886.
Shot and killed the son and sniped and killed the (nursing at the time) wife over a FIVE dollar tax matter, not a five hundred buck bill.

(ATF is also noted for throwing a pregnant woman against a wall - she later miscarried - and stomping a kitten to death just to drive home how powerless a raid target was to make them responsible for their actions. Shooting the family dogs at the start of a raid, for the raiders' convenience, is routine.)

Re:Why not jackboots? ATF is also under treasury. (1)

Thng (457255) | about a year ago | (#43770771)

ATF has been part of Department of Justice since 2003.
from their history: [atf.gov]
ATF's History

Effective January 24, 2003, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was transferred under the Homeland Security bill to the Department of Justice. The law enforcement functions of ATF under the Department of the Treasury were transferred to the Department of Justice. The tax and trade functions of ATF will remain in the Treasury Department with the new Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

In addition, the agency's name was changed to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to reflect its new mission in the Department of Justice.

IRS+scientology / fighting the IRS = no winners (4, Insightful)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43770281)

Scientology has been the only group that has fought the IRS and won, albeit with dirty tricks and pressure:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology#Dispute_of_religion_status [wikipedia.org] : the IRS claimed that it was all above-board and had nothing to do with the tactics and push-through of Scientology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Snow_White [wikipedia.org] : the theft of private and privileged documents from the IRS offices and from other governmental agencies
even Wikipedia thinks that CoS plays dirty [wikipedia.org] and doesn't play fair

If it takes that level of psychopathy and money and criminal activity in order to successfully fight against the IRS, what odds does a company with legitimate meritorious claims against the IRS have? None? :>(

Re: IRS+scientology / fighting the IRS = no winner (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770305)

Or it shows that the Tea Party is composed of the same shameless moral thugs pretending to be martyrs as Scientology.

But no, I'm told the Tea Party is all virtuous saints whose shit doesn't stink.

Re: IRS+scientology / fighting the IRS = no winner (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770333)

Or you have no idea what you're talking about like so many on /.

Re: IRS+scientology / fighting the IRS = no winner (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#43770393)

Bob, we don't target people for tax audits and third-degree checks on the singular basis of the words with which they choose to identify their group. To argue otherwise is to open the door to some of the greatest evils in mankind's history.

Re:IRS+scientology / fighting the IRS = no winners (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#43770557)

Scientology has been the only group that has fought the IRS and won

Huh? The IRS loses all the time. Even if you just narrow the list down to religious groups pushing the boundaries of what qualifies for the religious tax-exempt status, the IRS lost to a church that was endorsing political candidates. [philanthropy.com]

Re:IRS+scientology / fighting the IRS = no winners (2)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43770825)

Thanks for that link. I had not read that. Of course I understand that out of many audits of personal situations, there must be more than zero individuals who have won against the IRS, so I did not mean that individuals have not won against the IRS. But I was under the mistaken impression that the IRS always won again large groups and institutions. I can't find the link from the Union-Tribune (San Diego) that I read. I think it was about two years ago. But considering that your link is from 2009, that 2010-2011 SD-UT article was definitely wrong. Thanks for correcting my misimpression!

All meaningless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770297)

Fourth Amendment? Is that worth the paper it's written on? The reality, sad to say, is that all our so-called rights are meaningless. Nothing has changed in the last 5,600 years, except that with a little experience I'm now more aware that nothing has changed. It's all just words for academics to fawn over. The reality is that might makes right, which is to say that those who have the might can do whatever they want. This is true on the large scale, such as the federal government, down to the small scale, such as an individual police officer. And includes both public officials and private people with adequate resources. You'd be wise, frankly, to steer clear of the "Joffreys" of the world. In truth, the only solution is to have a limited government, which is great in theory and has been tried, but the weak point is that it has to be implemented by people and people will not adhere to restrictions.

wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770301)

at what point is this type of negligence criminal? those guys should all be in a federal prison, not a federal agency

Re:wtf (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43770633)

As a practical matter, it's criminal when a court says it is. Meanwhile we've just got another story on the internet.

Propaganda (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770321)

"when agents executed a search warrant for financial data on one employee –"

A search warrant requires judicial approval. This looks like a company that is taking advantage of the current IRS "scandal" to defend itself against a wholly unrelated investigation. It worked.

Re:Propaganda (5, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43770447)

They had a search warrant for financial data regarding one former employee, and they took tens of millions of medical records too, which they weren't entitled to.

Warrant said they could take A, they took A and B.....ZZZZZZZZ. Everything from B on was unrelated information to the investigation proper, and not covered by the warrant. They stepped over the line, despite being warned. How is this confusing to you?

Re:Propaganda (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43770585)

He can't understand why you don't trust the government. After all, they just want to help keep us all safe. That nasty old Constitution just keeps getting in the way of them doing their job.

Re:Propaganda (2, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#43770867)

They had a search warrant for financial data regarding one former employee, and they took tens of millions of medical records too, which they weren't entitled to.

So they took a hard drive that contained that employees information along with some other database and didn't remove and leave behind the ceramic platter that contained the other database?

. They stepped over the line, despite being warned. How is this confusing to you?

The question is really what did they actually take? Did they haul out all the filing cabinets on 2 floors full of printed records? Or did they take a single file server that contained what they were looking for, and which also had some other stuff on it too.

Not that it will happen. (4, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43770327)

They seized 60 million records of 10 million people because of 1 possible tax cheat? Nice.

To paraphrase a wise man recently, "I don't want to see who's getting slapped on the wrist. I want to see who's going to jail."

Re:Not that it will happen. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43770361)

They seized 60 million records of 10 million people because of 1 possible tax cheat?

Maybe they confiscated the disk drive.

Re:Not that it will happen. (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43770473)

Substitute storage array and you might be right. From what I've read, it almost certainly wasn't a trivial amount of data as it included treatment plans, history, etc.. Since it was for a former employee, you have to wonder why they couldn't either just ask for a report to be printed, or something else. It is very hard to believe that this isn't a massive over-reach.

Re:Not that it will happen. (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43770611)

Substitute storage array and you might be right. From what I've read, it almost certainly wasn't a trivial amount of data as it included treatment plans, history, etc.. Since it was for a former employee, you have to wonder why they couldn't either just ask for a report to be printed, or something else. It is very hard to believe that this isn't a massive over-reach.

I don't know about that. Right now all we have is the plaintiff's word for it that proper protocols weren't followed. They admit there was a warrant.

Let's get some facts before we jump to conclusions. If we have a story everytime someone cries foul, there won't be enough bandwidth for anything else.

Now if someone gets convicted, or slapped with a zillion dollar fine, then we'll have a story.

Re:Not that it will happen. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#43770501)

They usually take the whole server and not one fuck is given. 'cos they're the gubmint.

Re:Not that it will happen. (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43770593)

They're lucky they didn't take the entire data center and auction it off after they were done with it. Keep fucking with them and see what happens next.

Why is everybody so upset? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43770353)

I mean, it's not like there will be any kind of upset in the elections. So ,take a pill, and enjoy the results of your vote...

2 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770373)

And it took them 2 years to decide to sue? What the hell ever happened to taking prompt action? This should have been in the news immediately, not 2 years later. Better yet, they should have simply refused the IRS.

Why didn't the company encrypt the medical data? (2)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about a year ago | (#43770385)

It appears that the IRS had a legitimate search warrant. if the data had been appropriately encrypted, it would be impossible tor the IRS to get access to it without help. If they were shown to have got that help, then they would have been clearly in violation. As it is, the company is at least as much to blame, surely?

Re:Why didn't the company encrypt the medical data (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770459)

The data was handed over after the IRS threatened to rip the servers out. A move like that can seriously impact a business. The did what they felt they had to do and decided to let the courts sort it out.

Re:Why didn't the company encrypt the medical data (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43770535)

You clearly have no idea how such systems work. My guess is that the IRS served their warrant and then demanded read only ODBC/API access to the companies systems. The company's DBAs likely balked at the idea... I know I would... and said "listen, if you have that sort of access, you could violate Hipaa if you submit the wrong query. We're very stringent on what we allow to be run against our tables" But the IRS being the IRS said "Fuck you, we're the IRS" and went right ahead. Once you have a legit login and password the data is no longer encrypted for you.

Knowing the ramifications of what the IRS were doing, the company likely logged their queries. The IRS's DBAs likely were worried the company in question could potentially get a court injunction to stop their access so their first query was likely "Select * from customers;" and dumped the entire table to a local table. Then company in question likely saw this, freaked out, but realized any lawsuit they filed would likely be quashed by "We have an ongoing investigation" yada yada... so they kept quiet about it until the original case was over.

I'm just guessing but I've been in similar situations and the governments admins are pricks and usually don't have a clue what they are doing. Violating hipaa is VERY easy to do if you don't know what you're doing. So much so that many people don't even want to work in departments that have access to such information. Make a typo in your query and you're getting walked out the door.

Re:Why didn't the company encrypt the medical data (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about a year ago | (#43770623)

Thanks for an enlightening reply. I guess I was assuming the data would be nicely segmented, but I guess these days it's all run together. Raises some interesting questions for lawyers and DBAs to get their teeth into.

Re:Why didn't the company encrypt the medical data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770869)

The article says that the "legitimate search warrant" did not permit the seizing of health records and that the employees of the company told the IRS personnel that the could be taking more than they had a legally right to take. The IRS ignored the warnings and seized the "unwarranted" data legally.

Do you really want the IRS to have the financial information that can be gleaned from your medical records--"Hey this guy had three surgeries this year. How did he pay for them?"--this could cause you a great deal of grief, harm and, even, stress-related disease and death.

What did you expect? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770411)

When everyone kept their mouths shut when the Warrantless Wiretapping was approved, did you expect it to stop there? Benjamin Franklin's quote about temporary safety fell upon deaf ears in the U.S. We are now the police state plutocracy we've always wanted. Good luck getting your privacy back.

End the IRS (4, Insightful)

Alex Vulpes (2836855) | about a year ago | (#43770441)

We should abolish the IRS entirely. Just kill the dang thing.

(Sorry if that sounds like a shameless political plug, but I'm starting to think that's what really needs to happen.)

Re:End the IRS (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#43770657)

I agree, name another government entity that the vast majority of citizens are frightened of because you are forced to deal with them anywhere from quarterly to yearly, and if you make a single mistake they will come in and chew your ass up and spit you out with everything you own stripped from your hands.

Re:End the IRS (4, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year ago | (#43770845)

I'm not scared of the IRS and I'm pretty sure, FWIW, that if I did make a single mistake on a tax return they would (a) be unlikely to notice, and (b) if they did notice they'd refund me the difference (or if the error means I owe more taxes, require I pay the difference, with interest. Either way, I end up paying what I should have done to begin with.)

I seriously doubt that the number of people terrified of the IRS is particularly large. I know there are a lot of irresponsible tax evaders who want all the benefits of civilization with none of the duties it entails who hate the IRS, but that's rather different.

Re:End the IRS (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43770755)

Tax collectors have always been hated and feared.

Goes with the territory. For all recorded history.

--------

The deil cam fiddlin' thro' the town,
And danc'd awa wi' th' Exciseman,
And ilka wife cries, "Auld Mahoun,
I wish you luck o' the prize, man."
Chorus-The deil's awa, the deil's awa,
The deil's awa wi' the Exciseman,
He's danc'd awa, he's danc'd awa,
He's danc'd awa wi' the Exciseman.

We'll mak our maut, and we'll brew our drink,
We'll laugh, sing, and rejoice, man,
And mony braw thanks to the meikle black deil,
That danc'd awa wi' th' Exciseman.
The deil's awa, &c.

There's threesome reels, there's foursome reels,
There's hornpipes and strathspeys, man,
But the ae best dance ere came to the land
Was-the deil's awa wi' the Exciseman.

- Robert Burns

You voted for it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770475)

Can't pretend you weren't warned. Enjoy.

Re:You voted for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770651)

nevermind that this shit has been going on for decades on both sides of the political fence, only when it happens with obama do you care, go kill yourself, YOU are the probelm

lotta money (3, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43770553)

The suit seeks $25,000 in compensatory damages, per violation.

* 10 million violations is 250 billion dollars? Holy fuck.

The only company that I can think of that has that large of a database of health records would be either one of the government agencies... or Epic. Time to buy some stock.

Oh I see (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#43770641)

it only took you 2 years to figure this out right as a big stink with the IRS is hitting the news?

good for you, you worthless leech fucks, didnt give a shit when it happened, only cared when you can be in the spotlight

Who cares? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43770681)

If they took information on a hundred people and used it somehow damage those people that's one thing. But 10 million records? That's too many to ever focus on even a thousand individuals, let alone every single person. Does anyone actually think the IRS is going to care what medications you take? If you had a knee replacement? That you went to see a dermatologist? They obviously don't care about your personal information because they have it already and they don't care what your medical background is. If you actually think or anyone actually thinks they can do something with your medical background then you are stupid because they don't know, they don't care about you and don't want to mess with you personally.

Its part of their search. They obviously are after someone for something big so they took a scorch the earth approach and took every thing attached to that person and the information sitting next to it. Its easier to take more info than you need when you have your one warrant rather than get another and come back for it later.

Fucking HIPPA is a joke anyway. If the IRS has my medical information I don't give a shit. They can read about the L femoral artery restructure I had or my wisdom teeth removal till the cows come home. And for anyone wanting to keep something private, it wont ever get because the fucking IRS isn't going to publish the info, share it with someone or give the public access so no one will find out because no one cares.

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