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In an effort to crack down on criminals, the IRS reportedly used location data that it accessed through cellphones.
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Oregon Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden was informed by the tax agency’s criminal investigative unit that the agency purchased a subscription through a government contractor allowing it to access anonymized cellphone data in 2017 and 2018, as reported by The Wall Street Journal on Friday.
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The data obtained from the contractor, Venntel, did not include names or cellphone numbers, the Journal reported. Instead, the agency essentially had access to a map of movements as tracked by mobile devices, which Venntel is said to have received from marketing companies.
The IRS tried to use location data and match it to devices that were present during a series of transactions related to a crime.
However, the venture was reportedly fruitless. The IRS’ criminal division came up empty-handed despite having access to the information.
A spokesperson for Wyden’s office did not immediately return FOX Business’ request for comment.
A spokesperson for the IRS did not return FOX Business’ request for comment.
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As noted by the Journal, even though the data is anonymized, it may not be difficult to trace a device to an individual based on where they spend their evenings, their place of work, etc.
The Journal reported in February that the Department of Homeland Security employed a similar method to enforce immigration policies.
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