Science & Technology

Attack of the IRS Robot Spiders


From Wired News comes this report of a technology that monitors the online activity of tax cheats and gathers information to bust them.

A five-nation tax enforcement cartel has been quietly cracking down on suspected internet tax cheats, using a sophisticated web crawling program to monitor transactions on auction sites, and track operators of online shops, poker and porn sites.

The "Xenon" program—a reference to the super-bright auto headlights that light up dark places—was started in The Netherlands in 2004 by the Dutch equivalent of the IRS, Belastingdienst. It has since been expanded and enhanced by international group of tax authorities in Austria, Denmark, Britain and Canada, with the assistance of Amsterdam-based data mining firm Sentient Machine Research.

Fortunately, this is the only reason why governments would ever deploy this program. Right?

Also worth reading at Wired: A breakdown of Sen. Hillary Clinton's "privacy Bill of Rights."