Uff da: 2008 tax records go online in Norway

Imagine being able to flip on your computer and find out the annual income of your neighbor. Or your favorite teacher. Or the guy that serves you coffee every morning. If you lived in Norway, it's quite possible that you could.

Tax authorities in Norway have issued the "skatteliste," or "tax list," for 2008 under a law designed to uphold the country's tradition of transparency. The list includes personal income and tax burden -- as well as where that individual ranks on a list of national averages. The list is made available to the media and can be found online (though be warned that it is written in Norwegian).

The law which makes the information available is not without controversy. Unlike in the U.S., personal tax returns have been available to the public in Norway since 1863, but the process for viewing the records was quite burdensome.

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