IRS Hires New Privacy Advocate

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has appointed Maya A. Bernstein as the agency’s Privacy Advocate, replacing Peggy Irving as the primary official in charge of protecting taxpayers’ personal information. The Privacy Advocate also works to ensure that taxpayers and employees are aware of their privacy rights.

An attorney, Bernstein brings special expertise in information policy and electronic commerce to her new position, including data protection, privacy compliance and electronic signature law. She comes to the IRS from the private sector, where most recently she was a consultant in information policy and administrative law. Before that, she was an associate at a law firm.

Previously, she was a senior policy analyst at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). During her nine-year tenure, Bernstein was responsible for reviewing a wide variety of agency regulations, ensuring compliance by federal agencies with the Administrative Procedure Act, Regulatory Flexibility Act, Paperwork Reduction Act and the policy of the president.

She was also OMB’s lead analyst on privacy policy and, in that capacity, routinely advised attorneys throughout the government on implementation of the Privacy Act of 1974.

“We are fortunate indeed to have someone with Maya’s level of expertise directing the IRS’s privacy office,” said David R. Williams, chief of the Communications and Liaison division, of which the Office of the Privacy Advocate is part. “As technology enables the IRS to modernize, privacy becomes an ever more important issue.”

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