New Probe To Investigate IRS’s Use of AI

IRS Headquarters
IRS Headquarters | Image by Natalia Bratslavsky/Shutterstock

A recent undercover investigation into the use of artificial intelligence by the Internal Revenue Service has spurred a congressional probe.

As reported by The Dallas Express, an undercover interview of an IRS fraud agent by a reporter working for James O’Keefe, formerly of Project Veritas, discovered that the IRS uses an AI system in conjunction with the Department of Justice to investigate Americans suspected of tax fraud.

House Judiciary chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) announced on Thursday that he was opening an investigation into the allegations.

“The Committee and Select Subcommittee have reason to believe that the IRS is working with other federal agencies to conduct this AI-powered warrantless financial surveillance,” Jordan and Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-WY) wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Not only is the technology purportedly capable of accessing the bank records of Americans, but it can also retrieve financial information on companies worldwide, according to agent Alex Mena, a member of IRS Criminal Investigations, who was secretly recorded disclosing the information.

“The use of AI technology to actively monitor millions of Americans’ private transactions, bank accounts, and related financial information — without any legal process — is highly concerning,” reads Jordan and Hageman’s letter. “This kind of pervasive financial surveillance, carried out in coordination with federal law enforcement, into Americans’ private financial records raises serious doubts about the IRS’s — and the federal government’s — respect for Americans’ fundamental civil liberties.”

Mena said in the video that the IRS has no problem “going after the little guys” and that the AI program recovered half a billion dollars in just six months by accessing bank account information.

Current laws do not specifically address how the IRS can or cannot use AI for data collection and investigative efforts. Mena added that most of the investigations are prompted by “anonymous tips,” but it could be that the AI program might be looking into more than just those accused of fraud. According to Jordan and Hageman’s letter, it could be operating in real-time against ordinary citizens.

“Congress has an important interest in protecting Americans’ privacy, and the Committee and Select Subcommittee have been conducting oversight of the Executive Branch’s financial surveillance of American citizens,” the letter reads.

The use of AI and the threat of data collection is an increasingly concerning topic among legislators and data privacy experts. Recently, subcommittee hearings have looked into data privacy issues with the use of AI in healthcare, and a recent executive order by President Joe Biden seeks to regulate the use of AI at the country’s ports, per Fox News.

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