The outgoing Italian government posted all citizens’ earnings and tax information, briefly, on the Internet yesterday, sparking outrage over lost privacy, the BBC reports. The site was quickly clogged by Italians checking up on neighbors’ and celebrities’ financial status. The information went offline after about 24 hours in response to a complaint from the country’s privacy overseers.
There was no advance warning from the finance ministry, which said the move was meant to increase transparency. “I can't understand what the problem is," said an economic official. "This already exists all around the world, you just have to watch any American soap to see that." The move comes days before a power handover; the current government had pledged to fight tax evasion.