online education

Microsoft and Google within the sights of common training

The government confirms the end of the omnipresence of Google and Microsoft tools in French national schools. Nowadays, the protection of personal data is at the center of everyone’s concerns and the school is not spared. Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace offerings that do not comply with the GDPR should therefore be removed from the classroom. Both cannot guarantee that the personal data of our pupils and students will only be stored in Europe.

School - Microsoft and Google in the Crosshairs of National Education

Targeting Microsoft and Google

No deadline has been set at the moment. But this desire is not new. The instruction took place about a year ago, but went completely unnoticed at the time. The Covid-19 crisis has greatly accelerated and increased the presence of digital technology in the classroom. The latter also highlighted the significant ubiquity of large private companies across the Atlantic such as Microsoft and Google within the education system.

Many teachers found themselves (during the first confinement) without proper tools. There were no clear instructions towards the digital. Everyone had to cope with their class, their lessons with the available resources. Many teachers have turned to American service providers such as Google Drive or Zoom.

Meanwhile at the Ministry…

This was officially announced in the Official Gazette on Tuesday, November 15thDeprecation of Office 365 and Google within national education. You’ve been accused of a number of things. The first and most important is the Non-compliance with the rules prescribed by the GDPR. Second, Microsoft’s free offering would be unfair competition. No call for free offers has been launched, nothing unusual so far, but the presence of their software in schools would directly encourage the use of these products outside the school setting, since they have been discovered, known and already mastered by young users on school desks. This free approach penalizes the other market participants. Last but not least: the location of personal data. These are stored in an American cloud and are therefore subject to the American CloudAct…

Please note that the Ministry stressed that “the acquisition and maintenance of infrastructure and equipment, including the computer hardware and software provided for their commissioning, necessary for teaching and exchanges between members of the educational community [leur]Burden” implied regions for high schools, departments for colleges and local authorities for schools.

For example, local authorities offer companies solutions for digital work environments (ENT) in terms of communication and collaboration, in compliance with the rules of GDPR and digital sovereignty. This makes it possible to eliminate US offers of cooperation that are not immune to extraterritorial law.

In Europe…

Recently, several countries have made the decision to stop using Google and Microsoft products in their schools. To protect the privacy and personal information of students in their countries. Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany have stopped using Google’s email and cloud services altogether. No personal data may be stored and processed on Microsoft, Google or Apple servers.

Danish, Dutch and German data protection commissioners hope to pressure US companies to enforce EU data protection rules. But a real alternative to Microsoft, Google and Apple would be much better…

The instructions must be followed in order to best protect the privacy and personal data of our children. The choice of software and hardware remains with the respective municipalities. On the other hand, the Ministry does not give any advice to create alternatives.

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