National Education asks schools not to use Microsoft Office 365

The ministry recalls the rule for schools, colleges and high schools that would be tempted to opt for an American solution, but potentially illegal.

The Ministry of National Education has asked “to stop any deployment or extension” of Microsoft Office 365, the American giant’s cloud office suite, in French schools. In response to a question from MoDem MP Philippe Latombe spotted by journalist Emile Marzolf, the ministry recalled the rules that apply to the use of American cloud services (online storage) in the context of public services.

Risk of access by US intelligence

Faced with questions from the deputy, who is concerned about the free availability of Office 365 as a loss leader for students, the National Education recalls that “the local authorities to which schools are attached provide the equipment and the functioning” of computer tools. In the eyes of the ministry, the heads of establishments or teachers do not therefore have to opt for other solutions.

This warning, which also concerns the Google office suite, is based on the GDPR (European regulation on the protection of personal data), for which the compliance of American cloud players cannot be verified.

In July 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) invalidated the legal framework for the transfer of personal data to the United States, due to the risk of spying on this same data by the intelligence services. Americans. With serious consequences, including for very widely used services like Facebook.

In a press release published in May 2021, the CNIL had already warned against the use of American tools, this time in higher education and research.

“Given the risk of illegal access to data, the CNIL is calling for changes in the use of these tools and will support the organizations concerned to identify possible alternatives” had thus estimated the Commission.

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