Recent Press Releases

Thune Leads Effort to Protect Taxpayer Data From the IRS’s High-Risk Bring-Your-Own-Device Program

"The American people should be able to trust that their personal information is safe with the IRS – not compromised.”

May 2, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Taxation and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Oversight, today introduced the Ensuring No Devices Bear Your Own Data (END BYOD) Act. This legislation would prohibit IRS employees, volunteers, and contractors from accessing sensitive taxpayer information on their personal computers or phones through the IRS’s bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program.

“I have been sounding the alarm on the IRS’s troubling history of mishandling taxpayer information, and the bring-your-own-device program is getting added to that roster,” said Thune. “The American people should be able to trust that their personal information is safe with the IRS – not compromised. I’m proud to introduce the END BYOD Act, which would help ensure the security and privacy of taxpayers’ data.”

The bill was cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

Earlier this year, Thune led a letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel regarding a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration that found devices used by certain IRS employees can access TikTok, including personal devices used to participate in the BYOD program. In the letter, Thune noted that the IRS is failing to comply with the federally mandated No TikTok on Government Devices Act, which bans the use of TikTok on any federal device due to security risks that the Chinese-owned social media application presents.

“It’s not enough that the IRS wants to take your money; they want all your personal information, too,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Senator Thune’s bill would make it harder for infiltrators, like former IRS contractor Charles Littlejohn, to leak taxpayers’ data to the press or sell it to scammers.”

“Senator Thune’s END BYOD Act would prohibit IRS employees from using any personal device, such as laptops and cellphones, for work purposes,” said Demian Brady, vice president of research at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. “Instead, they would only be able to access taxpayer information through official IRS devices. This reform comes in the aftermath of the recent conviction of an IRS contractor who illicitly obtained and disclosed confidential financial records of thousands of taxpayers, resulting in a five-year jail sentence. Senator Thune’s END BYOD Act would help strengthen the security and privacy of taxpayers’ data.”