France fines Monsanto for illegally acquiring data on journalists, activists | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

France fines Monsanto for illegally acquiring data on journalists, activists

France's personal data protection agency on Wednesday fined US firm Monsanto for illegally compiling files of public figures, journalists and activists with the aim of swaying opinion towards support for its controversial pesticides.

The firm, now owned by German chemical giant Bayer, failed to inform the people on the watch lists compiled in the context of a heated public debate about glyphosate, a weed killer, it ruled.

The CNIL agency fined Monsanto 400,000 euros ($473,000) in the case brought by seven plaintiffs.

Compiling lists of contacts was not in itself illegal, the agency said, but only people who could "reasonably expect" to figure on such lists because of their business sector or their public standing should have been included.

Furthermore, data had to be collected legally and targets informed, including of their right to refuse being listed. By keeping the lists secret, Monsanto deprived them of this right, CNIL said.

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