Germans banned Microsoft Office from the schools

The data protection authority of the German state of Hesse has banned the use of Microsoft Office 365 by schools because it violates the data protection rules. The regulator informs this via its own website. The use of the office software complied with the privacy legislation as long as the data of users were stored in a German cloud.

Microsoft decided last year to stop offering this option. According to the regulator, the use of cloud services is not a problem in itself, but this is a different story for Office 365. The question is whether schools as a public educational institution may store children’s personal data in a cloud that the US authorities can access.

Public institutions in Germany have a special responsibility when it comes to the admission and traceability of the processing of personal data. The sovereignty of the processing must also be guaranteed. In addition, Office 365 sends all kinds of telemetry data to Microsoft, without its content being completely clear, the regulator says.

The use of Office 365 under the AVG is therefore prohibited, according to the regulator. Microsoft must therefore come up with a solution.

“Once the possible third-party access to data in the cloud and the subject of telemetry have been remedied and complied with data protection, Office 365 can be used by schools,” the authority said. Until then, schools can work with programs that run locally and store data.

In conclusion, the Hessische Beauftragte für Datenschutz und die Informationsfreiheit (HBDI) reports that what applies to Microsoft also applies to Apple and Google cloud solutions.

“The cloud solutions of these providers are so far not transparent and transparent,” the HBDI notes. It is therefore not permitted for schools to use these services.

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