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German privacy officers says it’s illegal for schools to be using Microsoft Office 365

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The GDPR-appointed data protection officer of Hessen, Germany has warned schools against using Microsoft’s Office 365 as it isn’t a compliant solution for storing student information. There were similar incidents in the past wherein the privacy watchdogs of Sweden and the Netherlands have concluded that the US cloud solutions weren’t GDPR compliant.

Michael Ronellenfitsch, the data protection officer, said that public institutions such as schools have to be more responsible with regard to processing personal data and “the digital sovereignty of state data processing must be guaranteed.”

It is also to be noted that the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) had also said that a “wealth of telemetry data would be transmitted to Microsoft” and that the company did not provide a conclusive response or clarity despite repeated inquiries.

Several European Union nations are now coming to a conclusion that handing over their data to an offshore cloud storage facility may not be a wise decision from a security and GDPR compliance standpoint. It was reported that the German Federal Government had chosen to deploy an internal file sharing system of their own in collaboration with an EU cloud company.

Public cloud solutions such as Dropbox and Office 365 are being accused of poor security and privacy regulations as they are said to be storing both personal and business data together across several data centers in the globe.

We notice a gradual inclination of the EU nations towards self-hosted cloud solutions that are compliant with the GDPR regulations. For instance, France is known to be building a secure communication and messaging platform that will employ Matrix home servers as a potential replacement to WhatsApp and Telegram for official communication.

It can be understood that the EU nations have started developing a sense of mistrust for US-based solutions with regard to data protection and privacy measures.

“…all that data being handed to foreign tech giants isn’t only a privacy and security issue but also weakens the EU tech industry, making it harder to compete especially in data-driven new areas like Artificial Intelligence,” said an EU based cloud service provider.

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