Sunday, September 21, 2008

Government puts Italians' tax returns on the Internet, privacy watchdog steps in

: For a few short hours this week, Italians got a opportunity to be each other's Big Brother: The authorities allowed Internet screening of absolutely everyone's taxation returns, including those of politicians, association football participants and television personalities.

But the experimentation provoked a violent storm of protestations over privateness rights. And a top functionary in Italy's outgoing authorities was forced Thursday to support his determination to let the taxation federal agency to publicly post Italians' taxation returns for 2005, including figs such as as entire revenue, income tax paid and other personal information.

The land land site went up Wednesday, prompting manic clicking by one thousands of Italians who clotted the taxation agency's Web site to check up on out the pockets of their favourite star, as well as of their neighbors, friends and bosses.

The Web land site was brought to a deadlock by the inundation of users, but that did not halt protestations by politicians and consumer groups.

Within a few hours, the country's Privacy Authority ordered the federal agency to suspend the viewing, saying it presented "clear and serious problems" under the country's privateness rules. Today in Europe

The move had been authorized by Vincenzo Visco, a deputy sheriff economic system curate in Prime Minister Romano Prodi's outgoing government. Italian news organisations quoted him Thursday as saying the web screening was a "simple substance of transparence and democracy."

Visco, a prima figure in the government's fighting against rampant taxation evasion, cited laws approved in the 1970s that let citizens to see taxation tax returns kept at municipal offices.

"There's quite a difference," Privacy Authority head Francesco Pizzetti told the Lanthanum Stampa daily. "Once on the Net, the information can stop up in hunt engines ... and go permanently available to anybody around the globe."

In a statement, the guard dog asked the mass media not to print the information hurriedly collected from the Web site, but some newspapers didn't mind the appeal. Lanthanum Stampa on Thursday printed the net income and income taxations of tons of Italian VIPs: from premier-elect Silvio Berlusconi to arsenic Rome association football star Francesco Totti.

According to the paper, the mass media Mogul and conservative leader declared an income of €28 million (US$43.5 million) and paid €12 million (US$18.6 million) in taxes. Totti's income for 2005 stood at €10 million (US$15.5 million); he paid €4.3 million (US$6.7 million).

The Codacons consumer grouping said the privateness of billions of Italians had been violated and offered citizens aid in seeking amends from the taxation agency.


On the Net:

Italy's taxation agency:

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