How a French radio station kept hidden files on listeners

By Lou Syrah

For nearly 20 years the privately-owned French radio station Europe 1 kept files and stored information on more than half a million listeners, sometimes with their details accompanied by insulting comments. This was detailed in a 2017 report by the French data watchdog the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) which has remained confidential but which has been seen by Mediapart. As a result of the report the radio station was given an official warning but the matter was never referred to the prosecution authorities, nor did Europe 1 have to pay a fine. Lou Syrah reports.

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Unbeknown to the outside world, for nearly 20 years the privately-owned French radio station Europe 1 kept files on listeners who called its switchboard, sometimes recording details relating to their origin, their health or their presumed sexuality. France's data watchdog the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) discovered the scale of the scandal in 2017 but chose not to make it public. However, Mediapart has seen a copy of the confidential report on the issue.