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Medical Firm Sues IRS For 4th Amendment Violation In Records Seizure 365

Posted by timothy
from the tell-me-again-why-you-hate-all-that-is-good dept.
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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Medical Firm Sues IRS For 4th Amendment Violation In Records Seizure

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  • New IRS dress code (Score:1, Interesting)

    by The Grim Reefer (1162755) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @08:11PM (#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.
  • Propaganda (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 19, 2013 @08:25PM (#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.

  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya.gmail@com> on Sunday May 19, 2013 @08:33PM (#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?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 19, 2013 @08:53PM (#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.

  • by I'm New Around Here (1154723) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @09:10PM (#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.

  • lotta money (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @09:12PM (#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.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @09:13PM (#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]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 19, 2013 @09:34PM (#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:End the IRS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @10:16PM (#43770845) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @10:42PM (#43770953)

    This isn't necessarily over the line.

    The article doesn't state it, but it looks like they probably imaged the entire HDD, which is normal, and that resulted in them having copies of all those medical records. And because the records themselves were not properly stored the IRS now has access to them.

    Sounds to me more like the firm is concerned with covering their own asses for not having properly secured the data in the first place. Laptops have a tendency to be stolen or otherwise walk off, and if they lost the records that easily, I'd want to change insurers.

  • by Anarchduke (1551707) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @11:21PM (#43771105)
    I'm not sure how this piece of crap got modded "Insightful" The 47% of people paying no taxes is complete crap. Its true that 47% of people don't pay one particular form of tax but most of them pay a bigger percentage of their income in taxes then Mitt Romney does.
  • Not about the 80% (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Monday May 20, 2013 @03:35AM (#43771829)
    This was not about the 80% spending rule. This was about the financial data on one individual, that just happened to be an employee at this company. If he worked at McDonalds, they'd have been pulling records on 60 million hamburgers.
  • Re:End the IRS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Common Joe (2807741) on Monday May 20, 2013 @06:13AM (#43772237) Journal

    I don't know whether to agree with you or disagree with you so I'll just tell a story that happened to me instead.

    I'm American, but my wife is not a U.S. citizen. We'd been living in the U.S. for years -- her with a green card paying her taxes every year on a business she ran in America. Uncle Sam loved us and we never had any problems. Circumstances changed and last year we decided to move to Germany -- her home country. In preparation, we called up the IRS and asked them what we needed to do. We went up multiple levels and finally got a guy who really did seem to be very knowledgeable (not something I say about others willy nilly)... except he couldn't tell us what we should do. Supposedly the IRS doesn't know what to do in our case.

    I explained that we'd filed jointly for years (she had a business of only herself) and we'd made our proper quarterly estimates and that we wanted to know how to pay our taxes and pay our estimates during the move. Should we file jointly? Separately? If she did work on one side of the Atlantic and then got paid when we were on the other side... little technicalities that we wanted to make sure we got right. He understood our situation but the IRS rules didn't have anything for us. Really? You mean the IRS handles multi-national corporations with hundreds of thousands of people and they don't know what to do in a situation with a single-person business that is moving from one side of the Atlantic to the other? We were too complicated? WTF?

    In the end, we hired a tax accountant in Germany, closed our eyes and hoped those guys knew what they were doing. My worst nightmare is the audit. With a business of one it would be very costly to defend ourselves if needed.

"Look! There! Evil!.. pure and simple, total evil from the Eighth Dimension!" -- Buckaroo Banzai

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