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back to article Every Italian's tax bill published online

The British government might be useless at keeping our data safe, but the outgoing Italian government has gone one better - it has published the tax details of every single Italian on a website and made them available to anyone interested. The Italian revenue deliberately published the information in an effort to increase …

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Anonymous Coward

i wonder...

... if the wayback machine caught the data first.

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Why can't our government move out of the stone age?

In the UK we have data lost on physical media. This means time and hassle to find it, only one person can use it at once and frankly we even relied on snail mail to send the data out to again, just in case people missed it the first time.

But the Italians, they've truly embraced the paperless cock up. An example to us all I feel.

Bravo Prodi, I wish the UK.gov were as forward thinking as yourselves. Now I'm sure there's even a way back when machine entry and a google cache of the site to make sure that this information stays in the public domain.

Fantastic!

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Can't we adapt this?

Maybe just use it for anyone who stands for office.

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Pirate

outrage? Pah, my country of origin has been doing this for years...

Just thought I'd mention to anyone who finds this interesting that the norwegian government publishes taxes and earnings like this every year in october... it's called 'skattelistene'. You can even search it as an online database. I don't know what the actually reason for them publishing it is, but it's mainly used to spy on your neighbours and see how much money they earn :P

Anon as my name is on that list as well...

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WOW!

This is totally bewildering, I looked up some of my friends who live in Norway and they were actually on that list. Scary....

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Bronze badge
Stop

Don't give Gordon ideas.

You know he'll do this the day after the next general election. He's trying to go down in history as having done something in his 26 months in office.

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Coat

@Norweigan AC

It isn't just Norway, Sweden and Finland publish everyone's tax returns openly.

In Finland, one can even get a text messaging service on someone tax bill, just say type VERO MATTI VANHANEN for the prime minister, one gets he is earning X euro in the tax of X and he is paying X amount of tax.

I will just get my coat with my P60 in the pocket

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Silver badge

Tax bill, tax bill...why does that mean something...

....OH SHIT!

Excuse me, I need to find my chequebook.

Cheers for the reminder, El Reg!

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Paris Hilton

Um - aren't they in the EU?

Isn't this a direct and wilful violation of the EU Data Protection directive? AFAIK there's a criminal charge associated with it, which means jailtime for the poor schlob who will take the blame. IANAL, but I think there may be some entertainment ahead.

Having said that, "entertainment" is a word I associate with Italian politics anyway - it's never boring. Beats the "yeah yeah boooh" of UK parliament - maybe they should get a porn star minister for a while :-).

Paris because she knows what it means to have no privacy..

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Tim

Great idea

This actually sounds a great idea, though I cannot see the UK moving over to it.somehow. The UK Govt would probably include an exemption for certain people (such as newspaper editors, politicians, quango members, & friendly party donors) too.

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Joke

Honesty in politics

"Beppe Grillo, an Italian comedian and politician" - at least they're honest that their politicians are a joke

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Coat

An excellent idea!

I might be more appreciated if my fellow workers knew how little I got paid.

Mine's the shabby one with a collecting tin attached

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Violation of EU Data Protection?

Not if they agreed to how their data was going to be used. (Sweden and Finland are in the EU, too, and it doesn't cause them any problems).

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Flame

@AC

Beppe Grillo was a comedian from the outstart. He then opened a very successful blog, which garnered him a lot of media and popular attention. I would not say he is a politician, but he can wield influence in Italy. Do some research before you make useless comments - joke is not that funny.

As far as the idea of publishing everyones income and taxes paid it is a god-awful one. Think:

1) Identity Theft

2) kidnapping opportunities for ransom

It only serves to feed the envy and satisfy the nosiness of people towards each other. Yes it is a case of sour grapes by the previous incompetent italian government lead by Romano Prodi.

Gentlemen, Berlusconi may not be everyone's piece of cake, but take notice of the following fact: This is the first italian government since 1948 where a communist party will not have any seats. This event has to be seen from this perspective.

regards,

Giacomo

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Anonymous Coward

@ Giacomo

Oh get a sense of humour will you?

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Sabotage

"one of the last actions of the outgoing centre-left government led by Romano Prodi"

Nice one. A bit like Blair's departure, just before the ordure struck the rotational cooling implement...

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@AC

I have one - you need it if you live in Italy.

But it is quite boring to hear day after day after day how italian politicians are incompetent/ridiculous/ etc etc etc. Which, in many cases is actually quite true. But it has been said before, so the joke is, in the best of cases, tired.

regards,

Giacomo

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Anonymous Coward

@Giacomo

"Gentlemen, Berlusconi may not be everyone's piece of cake, but take notice of the following fact: This is the first italian government since 1948 where a communist party will not have any seats. This event has to be seen from this perspective."

I get the impression you think this is a good thing? When was the last time there was a government without a fascist?

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Tim
Joke

@AC re: Giacomo

Not surprised he's not laughing. Have you seen what he's paid?

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Paris Hilton

RE: Why can't our government move out of the stone age?

With this government's history of implementing I.T. systems anything like this would go tit's up and actually protect our data. We would cock up the attempt to cock up.

The only reason the goverment loses the physical data is in hope that a third party will publish it.

Paris because she enjoys a "cock up".

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@both AC and Tim

AC: I do think it is a good thing, bearing in mind, non of the far right wing parties entered the parliament either. AN is, I agree, a potentially mixed bag, but they have come leaps and bounds since the eighties, and are now a pretty different political animal. The italian communist party and the party of communist refoundation (both now excluded from the parliament) never made the slightest attempt to soften their ideological stance (which cost Italy a lot over the last 20 years - no or very little labour market reform, no or very little tax reform etc). Having said this, Mr Berlusconi showed himself to be more interested in personal affairs rather than matters of state during his previous tenure, and when criticised, he blamed the communists.

Now he has (for better or worse) been aquitted of all charges and there are no communists left for scapegoating, only the mild and centre-leaning Democratic Party. He is also quite old, and willing to be remembered. He has now to govern Italy for the benefit of Italy.

Tim: hehehehe, point taken

regards,

Giacomo

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Thank Goodness for Silvio

Italian politics is both entertaining and cheesy, and that makes it so special. Honestly, where else would you get a song praising a candidate? http://youtube.com/watch?v=uTVr0zkDfys

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I wonder !!!

I wonder if The UK government will do the same when they get booted at the next election.....

Oh silly me they already have and are continuing to do so, work in progress really.....mmmmm

Of course we can all have id cards to prove who we really are Yeahhhhhhhhh

This was a malicious and criminal act IMO and the perpetrators should face lengthy spells in prison alongside all the people who lose data accidentally !!!They can then discuss how they can make these systems more secure at their leisure.

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Paris Hilton

Violation of EU Data Protection?

Not if they agreed to how their data was going to be used. (Sweden and Finland are in the EU, too, and it doesn't cause them any problems).

I wonder if they can actually opt out? (Not out of paying taxes that is!).

It sounds compulsory to me and if by agreeing to pay taxes (how can you not?!) you agree to your data being made public, everything is out in the open.

Paris because I'm sure she pays all her taxes and likes all her details being out in the open.

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Flame

Helping Kidnappers?...., Come ON! get real!

I do not see how this will do anything to help or promote kidnapping or theft..... Are Criminals completely blind and stupid? Can they not tell the difference between a Bentley or Mercedes and say a Honda or Fiat? I know young children and retards that could roughly estimate the value of a houses contents just by looking at it from outside. The landscaping, gate fountains etc (or lack thereof), the size of building and the neigborhood its in all tell you the simple fact of wether there is surplus nice things inside or not. A house with a fountain in Beverly Hills has a crapload of money, the one with a car on block in front of it in West Virigina doesn't, and I don't need the net to tell me it.

The people who are upset about this (like our I'm sure wealthy comedian) are just upset because rich people never want the poor to know how much better they have it than them. Richies hate to talk about money because it always makes them look bad, and upsets those that might right said unbalance. Anyone who doesn't like this idea, probably have some guilt about whether the earned their money, or are guilty about what they are doing with it. Anyone who earned their money and lives a good live has nothing to hide. I make a decent wage and I work hard for it, no need for secrets here.

I see this public information being far more effective at finding Mob and Oranized crime affiliates and bosses, and criminals of other similar types. Surely this information is much more pertinenat and valuable (especially in Italy where oranzied crimes seems to be a reilgious way of life) than any ammount of privacy this strips. And really should your taxes and income be so private anyways? What protection does this afford you? I can certainly see the argument that truth and openness is always a better healtheir way to live both individually and as a society

An ever better result would be to help root out public corruption and briberly (although this is still basic Mob fair as well). Wouldn't you want to know your representative that was moving jobs to China got paid a few million dollars by the Chinese Govt?

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Coat

But can you add or alter it?

Remember that the U.S. State Oklahoma not only exposed a quantity (admittedly, a finer subset) of personal data, but allowed aspiring viewers to alter the data or add new entries via the worst SQL/web coding in the history of the Universe.

Combine that with a list of tax bills and see where things go.

Mine's the fur coat with diamonds sewn into the seams that I paid for with my tax refund. And I thought learning an UPDATE query would never pay off...

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J
Dead Vulture

Joke?

"at least they're honest that their politicians are a joke"

Well, and which politicians from which country are NOT a joke? (a sad joke most of the time, but anyway)

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Tim

@Rob

Accept your point about crime but you're in favour of this sort of thing in general, which I don't agree with. Do you have curtains? Same principle. Some stuff is just private.

Also, think about the situation where you can look up your colleagues' salaries. I know *some* companies are enlightened and have transparent pay policies, but most aren't. For those working in the vast majority of normal businesses where salaries are confidential, this could make their lives difficult and unpleasant. Why do that for no good reason?

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@Rob Dobs

"Anyone who doesn't like this idea, probably have some guilt about whether the earned their money, or are guilty about what they are doing with it. Anyone who earned their money and lives a good live has nothing to hide. I make a decent wage and I work hard for it, no need for secrets here."

Alright Rob, I'll bite. Let's have name, address, DOB, and your income and tax for the last few years. Ta.

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Coat

meh

I'm a California public employee; our salary information is public record anyway. One of the newspapers even published a searchable database. I'm all for it - I'm paid with tax money, people have a right to know who is getting how much of it. If you don't like it, work in the private sector.

@Giacomo: besides, I'm not sure Berlusconi had much to do with the communists leaving office; I can't imagine they all threw up their hands and said "my god, what have I been thinking for the past 60 years?! I'm voting for the right!" :)

/obplug for one of my favorite songs - "Picciotti della benavita", about how gangsters realize being a politician is safer and more profitable and decide to switch careers. True of every country I've got any experience with, at any rate. (It's on youtube)

Mine's the one with the state inventory tag attached...

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Anonymous Coward

anyone know the website address ?

If anyone knows the website address it was posted to please let us all know

Thanks

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Go

Transparency

There are countries, like the Scandinavian, who work for more transpaqrency in the EU. And then there are mostly the southern part of the EU who oppose it, never, of couse, admitting it.

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Anonymous Coward

Bloody Good Idea

I've always thought this Brit sensitivity about how much we earn ridiculous.

largely, it used by employers as part of their manipulation techniques. I would never play; if colleagues wanted to know how much I earned I told them.

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Why not?

I really hate companies who forbid their employees to tell each other how much they earn. Just make everybody keep secrets from each other, THAT will help morale... Also, it practically means they don't pay you as much as the guy next door, and they don't want you to find out.

Seriously, life would be easier if we didn't try to keep information from each other so much. As for the risk of identity theft, there are plenty of directories on the web giving the name and address of people. I do not really see how adding their total income or how much tax they pay is going to make identity theft easier...

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Anonymous Coward

A good thing

1) Most people's salaries are fixed and known. Some of the people with fixed salaries may have additional income. Why should that fact be hidden?

2) Someone mentioned risk of identity theft? That's ridiculous. If you want to see a large list of people's names, addresses, and phone numbers, open a telephone directory. What can you do with a name, address, and date of birth? Open a bank account or a credit card account? Surely not in Italy as far as I know!

3) I read that Beppe Grillo has a significant income. I suspect he got angry because he didn't want everybody to know it.

4) THIS INFORMATION (PEOPLE'S INCOME AND TAXES) WAS ALREADY PUBLIC. So whoever was really interested in someone else's income (for whatever reason) was already able to get that information. A prospective kidnapper was already able to get that information, for example. So the only news is that the information has been posted for **everybody else** (that is, other than those who had a major motivation to go and look) to see. Why is that a bad thing?

5) I bought a home two months ago here in the US. Last week I read on a local newspaper that Mr. X (myself) bought a property from Mr. Y for Z amount of $$$. Then I noticed that this information also pops up on Google if I do a search on my name. Should I be upset? The whole world now knows that I bought a home as well as the exact purchase price. Should I be upset?

6) Suppose that someone who you believe is rich (or much richer than you at least) has declared a very low income and has paid very low taxes. What would you think of that person if you knew about that? Should he be ashamed of what he did, or should he be upset because some of his personal information has been divulged?

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Pirate

transparancy

I fully agree with those suggesting that this is a good thing. And those that talk about 'identity theft' are probably living in the UK - not realising that expecially the scandinavian countries have significantly different procedures related to 'id-cards' and 'passports' etc. Also these countries have significant regulation in place when it comes to what data is kept in databases etc. In many scandinavian countries transparancy of public records and documents have a very long tradition. This means that governmental activities are by default public and only special cases (usually requiring court orders which are themselves public) can be secret. This transparancy of public records generally includes all records and therefore also the tax records on individual citizens (inclusive the prime minister and members of the swedish royal family for example). In the UK however the opposite is true - governmental documents and activities are secret by default and the society as a whole lacks transparancy and citizens influence on societal corruption is in many cases insignificant. So while the UK government can have access to a vast information about the UK population the people do not have access to information about the activitieys of their government. Instead of democracy we have our own 1984 designed as a modern panopticon. Who watches the watchers?

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I bet there are some exceptions

"...it has published the tax details of every single Italian on a website..."

Every single Italian? Every *single* Italian? *Every* single Italian?

How about Prodi and Berlusconi? I bet that doesn't include them.

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How about Prodi and Berlusconi?

As MPs, their annual income is published on the Official Gazette, and is given wide coverage by national newspapers.

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Not telling colleagues your wages....

My employer doesn't like us doing that either. Same goes for bonus payments. But we still do it. *shrugs*

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Anonymous Coward

@Giacomo Bruzzo but, anyone can read :)

Giacomo, dont be silly... You think that Mafia or criminals need to have this list to know who have to be kidnapped? You maybe forgot the Kidnapping era, in '70-'80, when the Ndrangheta kidnap many industrial peoples... You forgot Celadon kidnap or Casella kidnap? The mafia have connections, more stronger, and dont need to have this list. Because many people can hide it's money in Luxemburg, or anothers paradise. Or maybe building fake enterprises in Uk to hide the money.

Or maybe, italian robin hood, beppe grillo, it's a little bit hypocrit when he talk about the poor people and he declare in 2005 4 million of euros?

I dream an Italy where the public administration and it's founds are clear like Sweden. You see report @rai?? Did you? Try to search in his website "Trasparenze Svedesi".

We have a problem in italy, and this sentence, defines many italian: "Do what i say, not what i'm doing"

And it's real, for beppe grillo too.

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