Privacy, Control and Internet (An Italian Fact)
May 1, 2008
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Yesterday in Italy happened a lot of events, the most important one (on the Internet World) has been that the “Ministry of Finances” made available online the taxation paper of EVERY Italian citizen. You had only to log in and look at the money that your neighbor says that he is earning, and how much taxes he pays.

That of course is a violation of the privacy in my opinion (a twitterfriend of mine that posted a comment below says that is legal, but using Internet is new – see comment below)… no question about that, this possibility in the web site has been shoot off a couple of hours later… too much requests and a lot of curious people logged in to see the earnings of fiends, politicians and vips… fortunately this violation has been cured, but not prevented, probably there has been some miscommunication between various parts of the ministry and that web application has been released and used… that’s in my opinion is a real violation of the privacy, but also this happening made me think about other “possibilities”…

There is a simple relation, “More Security = Less Privacy” more we know about each other and more control we can have of the things and happening that are around us. More personal things people know about each other, safer they are because fear comes when we don’t know something. So the idea at the moment is to think about if we all agree in decreasing our privacy level to fell safer… more or less because everyone control everyone… This thing reminds me for some aspects the book 1984, where there were no privacy and there were a total control of everyone, everyone was the guard of everyone, and noone could have privacy, the only privacy was inside its own head.

That happening can be seen as a Social 2.0 approach. Not only because the meaning used to share those informations was internet, but because there has been an experiment of social auto regulation, like happens in the Web 2.0. For example on Wikipedia everyone can edit, and lot of people write wrong things, but there is always someone that finds the error and fix it, the user system heals itself by looking at the other job and then fix it. Italy is a country where there is a lot of Fiscal Evasion, lots of people don’t declare their real income or simply doesn’t declare it at all… but if everyone can access to those data, they know that they are under control not only by the state, but from everyone, known and unknown people and they know that the possibility to be found increases with the possibility that people around you can see what you declare and in the same time see your “expenses and lifestyle” and compare it… and if something strange would be found nothing can stop a mail to the ministry to ask to make a strict control on the person. I think that with the violation of those private data there would be a strong decrease of the tax evasion because people know they are always under control.

There are different approach, and different ideas. the only thing is to try to understand what is better… privacy or security?

Update – There has been a fix, I have written the post quite fast and without making further research. I’m bad, but I will learn frm this mistake, anyway my point wasn’t about the internet provided Internet, but was about the relationship between privacy and security.

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There are 4 comments

  • “…That of course is a violation of the privacy… no question about that…”
    Wrong, absolutly wrong.
    From 1973 that’s list are PUBLIC and EVERY italian citizen could read.
    There is only one difference: the strument for see that, Internet.
    this is the law:

    D.P.R. 600/1973
    Accertamento delle imposte sui redditi
    TITOLO I – artt. 1-12 – Dichiarazione annuale

    Art. 69 – Pubblicazione degli elenchi dei contribuenti

  • i agree with you, but don’t confuse privacy with “information”. More privacy + more information = more security

  • metakappa says:

    In the web2.0, socialness is based on self-generated behaviour and a common sense and motivation. I think is not comparable to the problem of the fiscal evasion in Italy. Absolutely not, my opinion.

    The only way I see to promote a fiscal conscience in italian citizens, is a bigger quality of the statal services to those citizens (and the cut of waste and privileges, in the same time). Basically the sequence should be: (1) bigger quality in statal services and efficiency in Public Administration spending; (2) deeper fiscal conscience, and mandatory strong measures against irregular people (so called “furbetti”).

  • Sulis says:

    Good for people to know.

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