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One German state has told schools it’s now illegal to use Microsoft Office 365 under data protection laws. The Hesse Office for Data Protection and Information Freedom ruled that using the cloud platform could expose student and teacher personal information to access by US officials.

The decision follows several years of debate in Germany over whether Microsoft software should be used in schools, CNET sister site ZDNet reported, due to the company’s practice of sending user and telemetry data back to the US. It also comes after Microsoft closed down a German cloud service, which had originally caused Hesse to allow Office 365 to be used in local schools.


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Investigators in the Netherlands last year found that the data being transmitted by Microsoft Office 365 could include sentences from documents and email subject lines, in addition to the usual software diagnostics. This is a breach of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, the Netherlands said.

“We’re thankful the [Hesse] commissioner raised these concerns and we look forward working with [them] to better understand their concerns,” a Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet.

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Corinne Reichert

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