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Banning Microsoft Office 365 in German schools

In fear of violating the privacy of students and teachers, the German Land of Hesse found it illegal to use Microsoft Office 365 in schools. The information of pupils and teachers could be "exposed" to spies the US State Data Protection Commissioner.

According to the Commissioner, "the use of the popular cloud platform poses risks because of the possibility of US officials accessing private and personal user information."

This may sound like another case of concern by European states about the privacy of users and the protection of their data, both naturally and Of the European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) , or a case of concern about the foreign policy of the US government.

But in fact the decision of the Hessen Data Protection and Freedom of Information Office is a result of multi-annual domestic debates on whether the Microsoft software should be excluded entirely from German schools and other state institutions.

As the state claims, in addition to the information provided by German users when using it platform, Microsoft Office 365 also transmits telemetry data to the US.

Last year, Dutch researchers found that this data could include everything from the usual diagnostic information sent by the software to content from internal applications, such as, for example, direct suggestions from documents and emails from user emails. All of this naturally violates the EU regulation on protection of data.

Following on from developments, Germany's Federal Intelligence Agency has also voiced concerns about the telemetry data sent by the Windows operating system.

The Hesse Privacy Commissioner has suggested using similar products / applications with on premises licenses, and everyone is waiting for Microsoft's official response to the issue.

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