Internal Revenue Service - PII Redaction Tool

Internal Revenue Service - PII Redaction Tool

The IRS wanted to analyze important customer comments submitted via their website. This presented a complex problem as the IRS needed to ensure that clients who upload comments are never at risk of divulging Personally Identifying Information, or PII. Using a custom grammar, Quoin built an application to parse and redact all PII. Information is then available for content analysis and metrics.

Internal Revenue Service - PII Redaction Tool

The IRS wanted to analyze important customer comments submitted via their website. This presented a complex problem as the IRS needed to ensure that clients who upload comments are never at risk of divulging Personally Identifying Information, or PII. Using a custom grammar, Quoin built an application to parse and redact all PII. Information is then available for content analysis and metrics.

In order to improve customer service, the Internal Revenue Service wanted to analyze customer feedback submitted via their website. The content would be aggregated as part of a content analysis process implemented by PublicRelay. Examples of these data include inquiries, complaints and other feedback such as:

  • "I need to speak to a live person - looking for contact number to call where a person will answer.
  • ”I am an accountant and I need to know how long to keep my client's Form 8879.”
  • “There is no listing on the website for form 5500SF”
  • “I tried to file Form 4868 electronically. This appears impossible.”

As these comments are often submitted with imforamtion that identifies the clients, the IRS needed a tool to ensure that their clients who upload comments are never are at risk of divulging Personally Identifying Information (PII), before this content is imported to the PublicRelay platform.

Our solution required building a Windows desktop application to process and “sanitize” the data, preserving all vital contextual data while redacting the sensitive PII. Using a custom grammar, the application ingests CSV-formatted data files and then parses and redacts all PII, including Social Security, phone numbers, email addresses, and other sensitive information. The resultant output CSV file will display “X” characters in place of the PII, indicating redaction. Information is now “clean” and available for use elsewhere to the IRS enterprise.

The cross-platform capable application was developed under Windows 7 and Debian Linux using free, open source software development tools. Further, the code is capable of being recompiled for many other operating systems as required in future.