Greek tax information system experiences black-out : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Greek tax information system experiences black-out Diomidis Spinellis Fri, 14 Jan 2000 13:04:38 +0300

According to the Athens financial newspaper "Naftemporiki" (14 Jan 2000,p. 7) the Greek tax information system TAXIS has been down since Tuesday January 11th. All computerised regional state finance offices (DOY) have been affected as they are unable to connect to the system's main computer.

I was personally able to verify this at my local state finance office wheretax liability certificates were not issued on Wednesday. According to Naftemporiki, the affected services include the provision of tax liability certificates, the issue of new tax registry numbers (AFM), and the validation of ledgers and receipts. Many of these services are needed for the lawful conduct of business.

According to sources within the ministry (department) of finance, the system's hard disk was overloaded by the large number of applications that were running on it. Another source claims that while data was transferred from one hard disk to a larger one an error resulted in the loss of all data. The disk (referred to in the article as "the system's main memory") has been sent to the United Kingdom to be repaired and to attempt to recover the lost data.

Some of the above accounts are contradictory: it is not clear whether the disk suffered a catastrophic failure, or the problem is a result of a human error. In any case, the reported attempt to recover data from the disk in question suggests that database resiliency, backup and recovery procedures, and contingency planning were not adequate. In addition, it appears that a system whose failure can disrupt business, trade, and everyday life of millions of citizens (tax liability certificates are needed for many important transactions) was not designed to withstand centralised failures.

Diomidis Spinellis, University of the Aegean

Link to Story:

-- Carl Jenkins (, January 20, 2000

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