My income online: it’s bad management

I’ve read many comments about the publication of income tax reports by Italian government, the last act of past government. I don’t know if giving my income statement to my neighbors (and to the rest of the world) is good or bad. What really made me angry was the justification by former minister, Visco. He said “it’s a matter of transparency”. Right, this country needs transparency but why is it always the citizens that have to be transparent while the government can be opaque? Where are the 10 millions? How come nobody can know why costed so much? Or, saying it with the WSJ: why does the state need to consume 48% of the country’s GDP?

Italians are not used to be transparent, the national culture is of suspect and jealousy. If you want to change that you need to educate and, most importantly, give examples. You can’t imagine that simply passing a law and pushing it down the citizens’ throat will do anything but make everybody angry. That’s bad management, awful, more than an issue of privacy. Cultural changes need strong leadership, a clear path to follow and examples. Do you still wonder why past government lasted only 2 years and its parties were wiped out of the Parliament at last elections?




  1. I agree with you.

    Motivations to politic acts can’t be just ignored, when someone elected by people makes a decision has the duty to explain that choice and to show why should be worth of the people trust.
    I don’t know if the decision to put online the incomes is good or bad, even if I don’t see much differnces from the past when a newspaper could go to the town hall and then publich them, but really this can’t be just a citizens matter.
    The State should be the first to prove its good behaviour.

    Someone suggested that visits to the incomes should be monitored, in other words everyone should be able to know who looked at its report. What do you think about it?

  2. I think that whoever suggested to “monitor” the visits to the website is a clueless incompetent or somebody that dreams of some omnipotent DRMs (which will never exist, because of the analog loophole). The 2005 files are already circulating wildly on the p2p networks: who will monitor those access?

  3. Ok, it wasn’t a technical question.
    It was a simple person to make that question, about the future of this thing, and that wanted to say this I think: privacy it right but trasparency its a duty for the citizens, so if you want my income to be published there’s no problem but I want to know how requests this numbers, to prevent curiosity.
    I understand the meaning of the question this person made me: it’s just that my life can be used by anyone for speculations? You know, someone feels strong and brave when can talk behind someone else, but it wouldn’t knowing that the person you’re talking of knows who’s speculating.

    Of course, I don’t agree with this method, because if think that transparency it’s a method that feeds itself, and because tracking people moves it’s not the right thing to do to prevent this kind of behaviors (transparency becomes tailing and shadowing). Maybe speculations can also be prevented with this kind of transparency and after all – with or without it – they’ll always be.

  4. Marcello, I’m not talking about technology. You want to know who and why is looking at your income report and that’s a legitimate request. But publishing numbers in digital form on the Internet is NOT going to guarantee that, under any possible and imaginable circumstance. Even if Agenzia delle Entrate puts those data behind a password because digital numbers replicate very easily, go on p2p networks ecc.

    I agree that transparency is good, but this episode demonstrates the wrong way to achieve it. I agree with Fuggetta’s comment in this respect: this is an ineffective measure to reach transparency. I wanted to add only how badly Visco and his crew managed the change.

  5. I don’t want to know who’s looking at my income, I don’t even own an income, and I know that digital data can’t be just stopped. I was just trying to say that common people don’t understand this point, that’s all, and I was trying to understand how would you imagine this situation can be managed from now on.
    Anyway, thank you for your answer πŸ™‚ I hope that my questions were not too trivial or impolite.

  6. Marcello, you are not impolite nor your questions are trivial. How to proceed now? The data are circulating, so there is nothing to be done to delete them. The people responsible for this mess have not been re-elected, and that’s the punishment they deserve for being such bad managers. I have little hope that the new government is more capable than the previous one: we’ll have to wait and see. For common people that don’t understand Internet, I hope that they will start to learn πŸ™‚