Adding Insult to Injury: IRS awards Equifax $7M Contract

Adding Insult to Injury: IRS awards Equifax $7M Contract

Numerous news outlets have covered the recent sole-source contract that the IRS awarded Equifax in order to … wait for it … “verify taxpayer identity” in an effort to combat fraud, according to ARSTechnica.  Lest you jump to any nefarious conclusions, please understand that this contract was awarded after this very same company received widespread news coverage regarding a recent hack (or two) that resulted in the exposure of over 143M Social Security numbers.

Yet another example of our government at its finest.  The IRS suffered a data breach a couple of years ago (which barely counts since only 100K records were exposed), Equifax is breached multiple times nearly half of all US citizens are impacted and the IRS moves forward with a sole-source contract so that Equifax which can’t secure its own data can begin to help the IRS verify and protect its data.  It seems to defy logic, until you realize the government is involved and suddenly it all makes sense.

However, it seems that even US Senators are exasperated by this gaffe, with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NEB) asking the (former) Equifax CEO “Why in the world should you get a no-bid contract right now?”, according to the Chicago Tribune.  When government action defies political logic and can’t be easily explained away you know something strange is afoot.

If there was ever any doubt that cybersecurity was and continues to be an issue, one need not look very far. In the digital age it seems we are caught in a nightmarish game of the blind leading the blind.  The IRS contract states that Equifax is the only company capable of providing these services, according to Politico.  However, if this is in fact true, then we are all doomed.


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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography


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