In Italy the state holds vast amounts of data on its citizens thanks to a penchant for completed forms that borders on the paranoid. But if Italians thought that their personal details were 100 per cent safe in the state's hands,

this week's events will come as a surprise. The Rome city council fears that its records office was 'digitally' broken into between 11 and 13 March this month, perhaps as a result of attempts to falsify the electoral lists to be used in upcoming regional elections. Laziomatica, a company owned by the Lazio region, made over 2,700 verification checks of the Campidoglio database on the three days in question, which coincided with the censure of the "Social Alternative" party of Alessandra Mussolini. Laziomatica has denied any wrongdoing.