• France edition

Ikea 'stole secret French police reports' - claim

Published: 29 Feb 2012 09:36 GMT+1
Online: http://www.thelocal.fr/2709/20120229/

Swedish furniture giant IKEA has responded to accusations it illegally accessed secret police files in France as part of its security operation.

Reports in weekly newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné and investigative website Rue89 say the company used French security companies to gain access to documents held in the STIC system.

STIC (Système de traitement des infractions constatées) is a centralised records system which groups together data from police investigations, including both suspected criminals and their victims.

Accessing the documents without authorisation is an offence. 

"The allegations have come to our knowledge and we look very seriously upon it. We have started an internal investigation to find out if there is any truth to it," Ikea's Sweden-based spokesperson Ylva Magnusson told the Local.

"We are a company based on values and honour, and we respect and believe in the importance of both our customers and our staff members."

IKEA France said on Wednesday it planned to "shed light on the situation" with its own inquiry.

In a statement, the company said it disapproved "clearly and vigorously all illegal practices that could undermine important values such as the respect for privacy."

Le Canard Enchaîné published a series of emails on Wednesday and alleged that from 2003 the head of security at IKEA's French operation regularly asked for checks on employees and clients.

Questions were asked about more than 200 people, both employees and customers.

The requests included information on criminal records, vehicle registration checks, mobile phone numbers and even potential terrorist affiliations.

In one email reported by the newspaper, the head of risk management at IKEA asked whether a customer involved in a €4,000 dispute with the store was "known to police" and asked for a check on her address.

Another email reportedly requested information on someone, claiming they made "anti-globalisation remarks" and could even be an "ecoterrorist risk."

The newspaper reported that each check on the police files cost IKEA €80 ($108).

The STIC database has been heavily criticised in the past for inaccuracies. 

A 2008 report by the data watchdog, CNIL, estimated that only 17 percent of the documents about individuals were accurate.

The company has been attacked before over its security methods. 

A 2010 book, "The Truth About IKEA", levelled accusations of racism and nepotism against the retailer.

The book also claimed the company used surveillance methods that were worthy "of the Stasi."

Newspaper Le Parisien reported on Wednesday that around ten IKEA employees are planning to lodge a formal complaint about illegal use of personal data. The charge can be punished with a €300,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

The employees also plan to launch an association for victims of IKEA ("Association de Défense des Victimes d'IKEA") for employees, union representatives and customers who may have been affected by the alleged activities.

Matthew Warren (news@thelocal.fr)

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

Fark It! Digg This  Share everywhere
Send to a friend Printable version Twitter This

Your comments about this article:

The comments below have not been moderated in advance and are not produced by The Local unless clearly stated. Readers are responsible for the content of their own comments. Comments that breach our terms and conditions will be removed.

Today's headlines

Photo credit: Cyclotron

Sarkozy's wives gang up on Hollande’s girlfriend

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Cecilia Attias, Sarkozy’s ex-wife, both slammed Hollande’s partner Valerie Trierweiler for her feisty attitude in the Elysee Palace. READ (2 comments) »

Zero growth for France in first quarter

The French economy posted zero growth in the first quarter of this year following a weak 0.1 percent expansion in the fourth quarter of 2011, the INSEE national statistics institute said Friday, confirming an earlier estimate. READ »

Soldiers killed 'by illegal miners' in French Guiana

Two soldiers were killed and two paramilitary gendarmes wounded Wednesday in an ambush blamed on illegal gold miners in French Guiana, officials in the overseas region said. READ »

Google reaches deal over 'Jew' searches

Internet search giant Google has reached a deal under legal mediation with French anti-racism groups which objected to the search engine suggesting users add "Jew" to searches for prominent names. READ »

Hollande’s bodyguards forget guns on Rio trip

French President François Hollande’s absent-minded bodyguards left their charge with less protection than usual on his recent trip to a climate conference in Brazil after leaving their guns in France. READ (2 comments) »

French-speaking countries 'must drop English obsession'

The Francophone world should vigorously defend the language of Molière and abandon its "obsession" with the English language, an on online appeal declared Tuesday ahead of a major gathering here celebrating French language and culture. READ »

France 'faces sluggish growth in 2012'

The French economy will grow only 0.4 percent in 2012, the INSEE national statistics institute said on Tuesday, slightly less than the 0.5 percent previously forecast and budgeted by the government. READ »

Paris meeting to plan for crunch EU summit

The finance ministers of France, Germany, Spain and Italy will hold talks in Paris on Tuesday in the warm-up to a crunch EU summit later this week, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said. READ »

More Society
  • Calls for Madonna to witness in death trial »
  • France rapped for raiding newspaper offices »
  • Runaway children cross France to see granny »
  • Tunisian party: chuck out holidaying Le Pen »
  • Merkel and Hollande talk ahead of crunch summit »
  • Man 'happy' as beer fight leads to mum-in-law ban »
  • Foie gras makers protest against California ban »
  • Teen phone hoax sparks missing corpse inquiry »
  • Hollande assures Suu Kyi of support »
  • Teens trash villa in huge 'Facebook party'  »
  • Highlights
    Paul Mison
    Benjamin Barda
    Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed (right) and his partner
    William Schmitt
    Simone Ramella
    Geraint Rowland
    Photo: Mobilitas
    Photo: Contiki Holidays
    Directflights.com is Europe’s new price metasearch engine, for direct flights to Paris and beyond!
    Latest news from The Local in Sweden

    More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

    Latest news from The Local in Germany

    More news from Germany at thelocal.de

    Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

    More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

    Latest news from The Local in Norway

    More news from Norway at thelocal.no

    Play Poker Online at Pokerlistings.com

    AGS Worldwide Movers
    Choose AGS for your move abroad. We ensure a successful move and will be at your service throughout the process. Visit our website now, and request a free quote online.