Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

In Norway, everyone's income is public information.

Other countries could do the same to make things more transparent.




It's funny seeing different attitudes on that. I live in the Netherlands, so really not far away, and income is very private, almost taboo information here - something you'd only discuss with your best friends, if that. People would be horrified to have their income be public information!

(please don't use my comment as a soapbox to start a labor rights debate)


It used to be public; the news papers had databases where you could look up individuals or list by location/birthyear/gender. Some even made maps, but they were a bit unpopular as it was suspected to be used by criminals. But knowing what politicians earned was nice and important, and news papers still report on "people of public interest"

Today, you have to login online and the person you look up can see your name in the log


> Today, you have to login online and the person you look up can see your name in the log

I really don't see a problem with that and would still consider it public information.


I agree, I expressed myself poorly: it is less available today than it used to; for example, I think it would be much more difficult for foreigners to gain access today. And there is a limit of 500 searches per month

So - there has been changes that resulted in less transparency or better privacy, depending on point of view


That is very interesting. It seems to me that the Norwegian society treats personal wealth information like what could happen with cryptos and blockchains.

Makes me want to dig deeper and understand the WHYs and HOWs it's been accomplished.

As someone born in a war-torn country, interpersonal trust is very hardly imaginable outside blood-linked relatives. Overall, in such a society there is a high degree of mistrust between individuals from different social classes or regions. Publicly displaying resources like yearly income is the last thing that would come to anyone's mind. As an adult, I have no concrete idea how much a sibling/parent makes per month. We've become so used to being vague while uncomfortably sharing our earnings.

A place like Norway seems like utopia to me. Does the government intervene by sharing citizen's reported income? Who gets to verify, record and archive such info? Is there a kind of punishment for liars/cheaters/abusers? Is the disclosure of personal income a strict legal obligation or a non-binding local tradition? I'm fairly puzzled.


> In Norway, everyone's income is public information.

> Other countries could do the same to make things more transparent.

What verifiable tangible benefits does this have?


Knowing what people employed in similar roles to you earn helps you bargain for an equivalent salary


In theory, not sure this translates to reality. I don't even have anecdotal evidence that this works. Employed in similar roles does not mean equally valuable to company. I live in Norway and I don't think I would ever tell my employer they need to pay me the same as someone else, I also know there is significant variability for pay in the same role at places I worked (without ever checking public tax records).


Kidnappers no longer need to waste time scoping out potential targets.


Traffic fines in Finland are proportional to the offender's income.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/nokia-boss-gets-116-000-spee...

Simple, elegant and fair?

Mathematically perhaps, but people are people...

https://www.automotive-fleet.com/10481/nokia-executive-fined...


> Traffic fines in Finland are proportional to the offender's income.

Don't need everyone's income to be public information to do that.


> Don't need everyone's income to be public information to do that.

It depends if you want speeding fines to be transparent, or secret.


Never heard of it, can’t really imagine how that would work out in other countries.

Is it a somewhat new regulation? Is it easy to access the information?


It's actually a fairly long tradition, it's only been online for the previous decade or so. I'ts easy to access, it's just that for the last few years, you can also see if someone has checked your taxes and who they are.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bO8zEaSuWg


I think it's a Nordic thing. Tax records (including recorded income) are also public in Finland, and apparently Sweden has something similar. [1]

In case of Finland, the current legislation that makes tax information public was originally introduced in 1999 but I can't remember whether the records were also public (based on some other regulation) prior to that or not. In any case, it's not that recent. The Reuters article says Norway has had public tax information since 1863, but I don't personally know anything more about that.

AFAIK anybody's tax records are basically a phone call away. You can't just google for the information, though. I don't know how it works in Norway. (Edit: but apparently the sibling replies do.)

[1] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-panama-tax-nordics-idUSKC...


To give the Swedish story. In general all documents, decisions, etc. handled by a public agency are by default public (i.e you can call/email the agency and ask for them).

So when the tax agency makes a decision on your taxes that becomes public, i.e we can see what taxable income you have. One way this is used is by newspapers to look into the income of politicians (and other famous people..).

The right of public information is taken quite seriously by the courts (and should be taken more seriously by agencies that really like to classify the information as secret, which you then have to go to court to challenge). For example an organisation I'm associated with was able to get the cookie data from the Swedish Chief of Police which the courts determined was public information (although they were allowed to mask some information).



Tbf in Norway everyone would be skint after a few beers regardless of their salary so you're all pretty even (jk, ofc.)




Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: