Scandalous Investigation Reveals How Tax Reporting Companies Passed Citizens’ Data to Google and Meta*
Seemingly harmless technology has become a tool for large-scale surveillance and control.
US lawmakers accuse tax preparation companies of violating the law and sharing sensitive personal and financial information of taxpayers with companies Google and Meta*.
Politicians Report was the result of a seven-month investigation. It states that companies such as TaxAct, TaxSlayer and H&R Block have used tools Meta Pixel and Google to share sensitive personal and financial data of taxpayers. Senators have proposed further investigation. They believe that the information was used not only for targeted advertising, but also for training AI algorithms.
Google and Meta state that it is not their fault that their data collection tools were not properly configured to collect information. Both companies claim that their tools prevent the collection of taxpayer data, however, as the report indicates, these filtering systems are ineffective.
According to the report, one company, TaxAct, is accused of transmitting the following data via Meta Pixel:
- taxpayer status;
- adjusted gross income;
- names of dependents;
- amount of federal tax;
- pressed buttons;
- forms for entering text;
- encrypted values calculated from full names, email, country, state, city and zip codes, phone numbers, and gender of the person.
According to the authors of the letter, Meta confirmed that it used this data to target ads to taxpayers, including data from other companies, as well as to train its own AI algorithms.
The lawmakers’ report urges regulators to prosecute any company or individual that violates the taxpayer privacy law. However, it is important to note that at the time of publication, the US still does not have a national data protection law.
Earlier it became known that on Google, DeepMind and their parent company Alphabet sued for “secretly stealing everything that has ever been created and distributed on the Internet by hundreds of millions of Americans” to create his own chatbot based on artificial intelligence Bard.
* The Meta company and its products (Instagram and Facebook) are recognized as extremist, their activities are prohibited on the territory of the Russian Federation.