Italy (Accidentally?) Puts All Filed Tax Returns Online
May 14, 2008
From this week’s Economist:
ITEM 100237099149 was a bargain. Offered for sale on eBay on May 5th, it was a CD of the “income-tax returns for 2005 of the entire Italian people”. Until it was removed after a few hours, it could have been bought for around $75.
Five days earlier Italians had learnt, to their varying dismay, amusement and fascination, that—without warning or consultation with the data-protection authority—the tax authorities had put all 38.5m tax returns for 2005 up on the internet. The site was promptly jammed by the volume of hits. Before being blacked out at the insistence of data protectors, vast amounts of data were downloaded, posted to other sites or, as eBay found, burned on to disks.