IKEA fined € 1,000,000 for massive surveillance of visitors and employees

The court fined the French division of IKEA a million euros for the illegal collection of personal data of employees. 

Its former head, Jean-Louis Bayot, was sentenced to two years of probation and fined € 50,000.

The scandal began in March 2012 when the French magazine Le Canard enchaine published correspondence between IKEA France employees and detective agencies. It followed that IKEA France, through agencies, bought information about its employees from police databases, especially about trade union activists, as well as clients who filed complaints against the company.

They paid 80 euros for each request, about 200 requests are known in total. French police raided the company’s headquarters in Plaisir, during which documents were seized.

According to prosecutor Pamela Tabardel, about 400 employees of IKEA stores in France were victims of illegal data collection in 2009-2012. “This is about protecting our privacy from the threat of mass surveillance,” she said in March as the trial began.

The court concluded that IKEA used the services of a private company, Eirpace, which in turn received personal data from police officers. During the trial, it was established that one of the top managers repeatedly sent the lists of the names of employees to private detectives to check their activities, including their political views and trade union activities.

Other defendants were partially found guilty of illegally obtaining personal data, they received various punishments: from a fine of € 5,000 to suspended imprisonment.

The parent company in Sweden has denied the creation of an espionage system. The court released her from liability since IKEA works with franchisees, and the French Ingka Group is the main franchisee of the brand in the country.

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