Roundup container, a glyphosate herbicide from Monsanto
The French data protection authority fined Bayer’s subsidiary Monsanto: The company internally kept name lists of public figures, journalists and activists to influence public opinion.
NSUS seed company Monsanto is said to have paid 400,000 euros in fines for data protection breaches in France. Data protection officer Cnil said Wednesday in Paris that the company did not inform people that its data was on internal lobby listings. However, the duty to provide information is a central part of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and with it the right to object.
Chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer, which took over the US seed company Monsanto in 2018, stated that unlike data protectionists, it does not see Monsanto as a data controller with some relevant obligations. According to Cnil, PR firms for Monsanto had taken over the collection of personal data for the listings. Bayer also stated that the agency did not encounter any illegal lobbying practices. A previous investigation by the company also did not reveal any illegal behavior.
Lists of glyphosate critics
The case concerns lists from 2016 and 2017, when Monsanto promoted the approval of the weed killer glyphosate in the European Union. According to the research commissioned by Bayer, 1,475 people were included in the lists, of which 466 were from France and 202 from Germany. Among them were supporters, but also critics of glyphosate, for example, in politics and journalism. Bayer apologized after the 2019 listings became known.