The Internal Revenue Service awarded a multimillion-dollar no-bid fraud prevention contract to Equifax.

The same company still dealing with the fallout of a massive data breach that exposed the personal information of nearly 146 million Americans will soon make $7.25 million to verify taxpayer identities and help prevent fraud.

Why not just allow the foxes to guard the henhouse?

The contract award for Equifax’s data services posted to the Federal Business Opportunities database Sept. 30. The notice describes the contract award as “sole source order,” which means Equifax was deemed the only firm capable of providing the service.

We find that hard to believe when there are two other credit reporting agencies, Transunion and Experian, that perform services similar to Equifax. The long-running list of data breaches in the U.S. created a market for data verification firms, many of which have not had their systems breached, exposing the private information of millions of people.

“Trust the government” is often treated as the punch line to a joke. But while it may seem funny on the surface, we’re usually forced to trust the government at times because it has information of ours that nobody else possesses.

Therefore, the IRS has a responsibility to be diligent in whom it chooses to allow access to that information. Awarding a no-bid contract to Equifax in the wake of the company’s failure to protect sensitive data is a breach of that forced trust.

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