French auto-journo hauled off for espionage

If you're in France, the phrase caveat emptor can probably be joined by caveat reporter after police raided the French magazine Auto Plus. The po-po were called last August to begin an investigation because the magazine published detailed photos of the coming Renault Megane, which Renault said wasn't supposed to hit showrooms for another three years. The raid was the next step in the Sherlock Holmes treatment.

Renault, of course, says that it is not after the press, it's simply trying to protect its intellectual property. The shots are so clear, and there are so many of them -- including the interior -- that it's obviously an inside job. The press, of course, feels that this is an attack on its freedom. The French press and the French government are engaged in a complicate dance, and this doesn't help things.

The police removed one reporter and a passel of computers. They don't want the reporter, though, they want the source. Auto Plus will have to wait to find out how much of that ever gets returned. But since the photos are out, we might as well take the time to say it's a nifty looking little car.

[Source: Reuters]

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