The US seed company Monsanto is said to pay a fine of 400,000 euros for data protection violations in France.

The company did not inform people that their data was on internal lobbying lists, the data protection authority Cnil announced in Paris on Wednesday.

However, the duty to provide information is a central part of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and with it the right to object.

The chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer, which had taken over the US seed company Monsanto in 2018, pointed out that, unlike the data protectionists, they do not see Monsanto as a data controller with some corresponding obligations.

According to the Cnil, PR companies for Monsanto had taken over the collection of personal data for the lists.

Bayer also commented that the agency had not found any illegal lobbying practices.

An investigation previously commissioned by the company also showed no illegal behavior.

Lists of glyphosate critics

The case concerns lists from 2016 and 2017, when Monsanto was promoting the approval of the weed killer glyphosate in the European Union. According to the study commissioned by Bayer, there were 1,475 people on the lists, 466 of them from France and 202 from Germany. Among them were supporters, but also critics of glyphosate, for example from politics and journalism. Bayer apologized after the 2019 lists became known.