Confidential data on millions of Norwegians sent to media by mistake | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Confidential data on millions of Norwegians sent to media by mistake

Norway's national tax office said Wednesday it had mistakenly sent confidential information about nearly all Norwegian adults to nine media groups, an error the government described as "extremely serious."

Tax authorities said they had sent CD-ROMs filled with the 2006 tax returns of nearly four million people living in Norway, a country of just 4.6 million inhabitants, to the editorial staff at national newspapers, radios and television stations.

While tax statements are open to public scrutiny in the Scandinavian country, the so-called personal number (like a social security number) inscribed on each form is highly confidential.

The number can for instance be used to change a person's home address, reroute their mail and purchase products on their account.

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