newsguy 30 The News Guy

Here's a good one, according to The Guardian newspaper in the UK, the incomes of each and every single Italian citizen were published for each and every other Italian citizen to see on the web. Rather than being some terrible data breach, or the work of some sinister hacker, it appears that it was the departing government which published the details. It seems, according to the Italian finance ministry at any rate, that this was done quite deliberately as part of a "crackdown on tax evasion."

Although the move was not popular with critics of the government, although it does seem to have proved to be akin to a light for a moth in terms of magnetism when it came to the Italian public who just couldn't keep away from the website. I guess the opportunity to find out how much the bloke next door, the mother-in-law or some celebrity or politician actually earned (in fact how much they actually declared, but that is another matter altogether) proved too much for most people.

"It's a clear violation of privacy law," ADOC, the Italian consumer group, told Reuters. "There is a danger for an increase in crime and violence as the data are an irresistible source for criminals."

It is too late now, mind, to go and take a look yourself as the Italian treasury pulled the site within 24 hours of it going live after receiving a formal complaint from the government's own privacy watchdog. The tax minister, Vincenzo Visco, obviously failed to see what the fuss was all about, telling Italy's Corriere della Sera: "It's all about transparency and democracy. I don't see the problem."