Americana: Muzzling the IRS Monster

It would have been Washington's biggest Big Brother. The so-called Tax Administration System, built around a monstrous $850 million computer, was going to give Internal Revenue Service staffers at 8,300 terminals in the ten regional IRS centers around the U.S. instant access to the financial records of more than 125 million U.S. taxpayers. Alarmed at what seemed like another electronic-age assault on personal privacy, liberals and conservatives alike protested when the project was announced in 1975. Congress's Office of Technology Assessment denounced it as a "threat to the civil liberties, privacy and due process of taxpayers."

Now the Office of Management and...

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