Meta, Google, H&R Block accused of plan to scrape taxpayer data

Photo by Markus Spiske

Three significant organizations in the tech and financial services sectors—Meta (previously Facebook), Google, and H&R Block are accused of working together in a scheme to steal taxpayer data. These firms are accused of using private information about taxpayers for their personal gain, which raises severe questions about data privacy and their ethical standards. This article explores the accusations, their ramifications, and any possible repercussions for these tech titans.

The charges came to light when a whistleblower who has been protected by anonymity—came forth with data indicating a partnership between Meta, Google, and H&R Block to scrape taxpayer information. The whistleblower claims that these businesses utilized social media, internet searches, and bank transactions to get taxpayer data for their own gain.

This organization aimed to create thorough profiles of taxpayers for financial services and targeted advertising.

The plaintiffs contend that the business implemented a planned strategy to install spyware and provide Meta and Google access to almost all user data. They claim that the corporations used the clients’ addresses, income, filing statuses, birthdates, and dependents to sell profitable tailored advertising.

The case was initiated in response to a July 2023 congressional report that revealed “a shocking breach of taxpayer privacy” and established that tax preparation businesses had shared millions of clients’ financial and personal data with Meta and Google.

According to the investigation, the businesses assisted tax preparation organizations in gathering data by placing “pixels” on websites where users input their tax information. It referred to businesses like H&R Block as being “shockingly careless with their treatment of taxpayer data” and described how Meta’s Pixel’s default settings provided “a broad set of sensitive information, from taxpayer reporting rental income to alimony.”

According to the plaintiffs, the corporations misled customers by failing to appropriately notify them about the sale of their data through privacy policies and instead used the information for their own financial gain. They point out that Meta advises tax preparation businesses to install the Meta Pixel on each page where they would be monitoring visitor behavior in order to start gathering data about each user and their activities into a “dossier” of data that may be used in the future.


Subscribe to get Latest News

Latest Articles

More like this