Norwegian gains instant fame as taxpayers' everyman

OSLO Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:21pm EDT

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OSLO (Reuters) - A 36-year-old business consultant became Norway's best known taxpayer this week after the government accidentally displayed his records to everyone who logged onto its tax website.

Kenneth Belcovski's name is on every Norwegian taxpayer's lips this week after a glitch on the Norwegian government's 2011 tax website redirected people logging on to check their declarations to a page detailing Belcovski's tax details.

Belcovski's social security number, earnings, mortgage payments and the kinds of other juicy details that will have identity thieves rubbing their hands together were on display.

Although Norwegians are able to check online some of the income details of public figures -- including the king and the prime minister -- the recent breach goes far beyond what is considered acceptable.

Belcovski is now known among Norway's five million inhabitants as "Altinn-Kenneth" - "Altinn" being the tax authority's website.

"Today we are all Kenneth," has become a popular catchprase.

In total some 1,500-2,000 Norwegians who logged on to the system found themselves redirected to Belcovski's tax page.

Belcovski declined to discuss the incident when he was contacted by Reuters.

"I don't have anything else to add to what has been reported," he said.

Tax authorities, who have apologised for the mistake, have suspended access to the tax website until the problem is fixed.

"We are in dialogue with the person, and will do our best to assist him," a Tax Office spokeswoman said.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

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