• France's news in English

Ikea 'stole secret French police reports' - claim

Matthew Warren · 29 Feb 2012, 09:36

Published: 29 Feb 2012 09:36 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.france@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France’s 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

French FM calls for end to Aleppo 'massacre'
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says the international community cannot ‘come to a negotiation under the bombs’. Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP file picture

France's foreign minister urged the international community to "do everything" to end the "massacre" in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia.

French cheer police, reviving Charlie spirit
French police officers on Saturday demonstrated for the fifth night in a row to protest mounting attacks on officers. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

Angry French police have taken to the streets for five nights in a row -- and Parisians have started to cheer them on, reviving scenes last seen following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

Scarlett Johansson turns popcorn girl in Paris
US actress Scarlett Johansson greets customers at the Yummy Pop gourmet popcorn shop in the Marais district of Paris. Photo: Benjamin Cremel / AFP

Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson swapped the red carpet for a turn behind the counter at her new popcorn shop in Paris on Saturday.

US couple donates huge art collection to Paris
Marlene (centre) and Spencer (right) are donating their collection ‘for the benefit of art lovers’. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

A Texan couple who discovered their love for art during a trip to Paris in the 1970s are to donate the multi-million dollar collection they have amassed since to the French capital.

France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available