A file for lobbying purposes: CNIL fines Monsanto €400,000

This case in France raises a few questions, one being the distinction between the legitimate interest of a company and its transparency obligation to keep data subjects informed. By Alexandra Guérin-François of CNAM University.

The US-based Monsanto Company (since 2018 owned by Germany based Bayer), an agrochemical corporation, well-known for its products containing glyphosate, such as the roundup weed killer, was fined €400,000 on 26 July 2021 by the CNIL in a decision that was made public(1).

This decision relates to the creation of a database for lobbying purposes, and is a result of media exposure of this database containing personal data of more than 200 individuals who were all considered to have influence over public debate, or at least public opinion, on the renewal of the authorization to use glyphosate in Europe. Some were political figures, others were part of civil society such as journalists, researchers, farmers, and environmental activists.

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