Mar 012012
Le Canard Enchaine

Le Canard Enchaine

A breaking scandal in France as the Swedish furniture giant IKEA may have purchased access to police records to check on both employees and customers. Perhaps its not surprising that in a world awash in data, it’s almost too tempting for a company to undermine privacy for the sake of certainty and profit. Details emerged in Le Canard Enchaine, the satirical weekly that uncovered a number of scandals last year (Der Spiegel said they were the only French newspaper feared by the political establishment). Here are the allegations:

Le Canard published what it said were email exchanges between the head of the company’s risk management department, Jean-Francois Paris, and Yann Messian of Surete International about getting access to the police force’s STIC files.

The controversial STIC file system has been criticised for being an unreliable database of millions of names and personal information about crime perpetrators, victims and even witnesses.

The newspaper said that Surete International offered access to the files for 80 euros ($A100.33) a time, as well as to a database of vehicle owners.

The report quoted emails requesting information on employees, including union members, on the names associated with a list of mobile phone numbers and asking to know who were the owners of certain car registrations.

IKEA France allegedly asked for police files on a customer who was suing the company for 4,000 euros ($A5,016.30) and for the name of the owner of a car that approached the site of a future shop. 

Scary to think about the status of our rights in the future as personal data online and in government databases grows exponentially and may be illegally accessed for what is nothing more than loose change for a corporation.

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