Italy's IRS Posts Citizens' Income Online

Italy's IRS created a grand snooping opportunity Wednesday when it posted on its Web site the taxable income of just about every Italian citizen — for a few hours. There was a huge outcry, and the tax collector had to take the information down.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And today's last word in business comes from the Old World - Italy, to be exact, where the government always seems to be cracking down on tax evasion. This time, though, some people think it went too far.

Yesterday, Italy's version of the IRS created a grand snooping opportunity when it posted on its Web site the taxable income of just about every Italian citizen. The information was up for a few hours. Then there was a huge outcry and the tax collection agency had to take the information down as quickly as it had been put up.

Might think this is all a mistake, but no. The outgoing government's tax minister says it was not. He says it's all about transparency and democracy. I don't see the problem. Which may help explain why he's the outgoing tax minister.

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