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    New York Times: France Investigating Ikea on Spying Allegations

    The New York Times reports that France is investigating allegations of privacy violations and spying by executives at furniture retailer Ikea:

    PARIS — Prosecutors have placed three senior Ikea executives in France under investigation amid allegations that they authorized illegal spying on employees and customers.[…]

    French prosecutors said this week that the chief executive of Ikea France, Stefan Vanoverbeke, and two other people were being investigated for possible involvement in a conspiracy to collect a range of personal information, including criminal records, automobile registrations and property records.

    The prosecutors said the information was collected to check on employees or to reveal unflattering background information about customers bringing complaints or lawsuits against Ikea, a Swedish home furnishings giant with operations in more than 40 countries. […]

    Under the French legal system, being placed under formal investigation is one step short of criminal charges.

    Government records on individuals are strictly protected under the law, and allegations that they may have been shared with a private company have raised the hackles of labor unions and consumer groups. […]

    The people said to be the targets of spying included store employees, union leaders and job applicants as far back as 2008, according to French news media reports. The surveillance was also said to involve stores in at least nine locations in France, including Avignon, Grenoble, Reims and Tours.

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