The computer ate my emails.

Tell me if you have heard this before? A teacher tells his/her students to complete a homework assignment over the weekend. Monday arrives, and all but one of the students turns in the completed work. The one who doesn’t, says a dog ate his/her homework. The students who use such an excuse probably think that they are smarter than the instructor and the story will be believed. The IRS must think the same of the American people. Last month, when the IRS told the House Oversight Committee they lost tens of thousands of emails belonging to Lois Lerner, the woman at the center of the conservative group targeting scandal, they were essentially saying, “the dog ate my homework.” They claim the loss of all those emails was due to a hard drive crash. Do they expect us to believe that an agency which keeps the records of millions of taxpayers for ten years without fail can lose several thousand emails? I find that very suspicious.
Those who know anything about large company or government computing will tell you that it’s quite different than home computing. For instance, most employees don’t use PC’s and thus don’t have personal hard drives to start with. Employees of many large corporations and government agencies use work stations which consist of a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and every piece of information is processed through a large, central, mainframe computer. However, those that do, don’t keep any information on the computers they use either. Once each task is completed, the data is also sent to a mainframe computer.
The only thing that work and home computers have in common is that e-mails and text messages are not stored on the hard/disk drive, they are kept in the cloud. The cloud is just another name for data centers, which are rooms or entire buildings filled with thousands or even millions of servers. Servers are nothing more than a platter of microchips used to store data. With a data center, information is stored more securely than in days past. The data is protected from power interruptions by backup generators and the weather in sturdy structures. In addition, information is stored redundantly, meaning that the information has several copies in different places throughout the data center and often in several places around the country. So, it’s virtually impossible for government agencies or large corporations to lose any information. The laws of physics would have to no longer apply, either that or every data center would have to be destroyed simultaneously!
If that wasn’t enough, the IRS Commissioner (John Koskinen) testified that there was a six-month disaster recovery tape available at the time of the “hard drive crash” but, it would be too costly to retrieve the lost emails. ( Really? The federal government can spend billions of dollars to build a soccer field at Guantanamo Bay, helping students from Indonesia get masters degrees, and paying American farmers not to farms but, we can’t spend a few thousand dollars to find some lost emails in a possibly, criminal investigation? To top it all off, we also know that Lois Lerner and her colleagues were trying to hide some of their activities from the government. Two weeks ago it was revealed that Ms. Lerner sent an e-mail to several of her colleagues telling them to be careful what they put in their emails because they could be sent to Congress. I don’t know about you but, I don’t think we can trust the government any longer. Perhaps we should disband the IRS and start over!


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