Italian postal codes are again freely accesible

By EDRi · November 22, 2006

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

At the end of September 2006, after a reorganisation of the postal
codes system (CAP), the Italian Post (Poste Italiane), now a private
company, as well as the Italian Ministry of Communications have
changed the way in which one could access the postal code online ,
limiting it to just one entry at a time, without the possibility to access
the entire database. A multiple query could be made only by buying
proprietary software sold by Poste Italiane.

According to the Italian laws, postal codes, together with telephone
numbers, laws and normative acts are public data, but also in the
public domain, and therefore should be publicly available without

Further more, the postal codes, as public information, are collected
and gathered with public money and therefore Poste Italiane cannot
consider itself as the owner of these data and should not condition
the access to a proprietary software that runs only on a single
operating system. Poste Italiane has put out for sale a CD costing 6.9
Euro that can be run only on Windows system. However, also free
software was available for the same purpose, such as Trovacap, a
program allowing the search of postal codes on Linux, Windows and McOS
as well. Caprone, another free software available in Linux and Windows
versions even allowed the arrangement of the postal codes in various

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) considered that public data
should be universally available without discrimination and drafted
an open letter addressed to the Ministry of Communications asking that
the postal codes list should be available as before. In the meantime,
with the assistance of the Italian FSDE team, it has rebuilt the codes
list from the Poste Italiano site, through a crawler and has made it
publicly available in a SQL format. The list is not entirely complete
yet and those who intend to use it for professional purposes are
advised of this risk.

For whom the zip tolls ? (only in Italian, 20.11.2006)

The Italian ZIP codes freed (Only in Italian – 06.11.2006)

(Thanks to Stefano Maffulli – FSFE Italy)