Microsoft 365 & Teams: Get out of schools in Baden-Württemberg

Schools in Baden-Württemberg will soon no longer be allowed to use Microsoft 365 and teams.

The schools in Baden-Württemberg should no longer use Microsoft 365 after the summer holidays. This is the will of the Baden-Württemberg data protection officer, Stefan Brink, in a press release.

The State Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information in Baden-Württemberg, Dr. Stefan Brink will shortly approach schools he knows that use the Microsoft 365 cloud service or MS Teams from the provider Microsoft, inform them of his legal assessment of the use of this online service and ask for a binding schedule for switching to alternatives. As a bridge until the 2022 summer holidays, the state commissioner expects that teachers and students will be offered alternatives or that data protection-compliant operation must be clearly proven.

In the press release:

“From the coming school year, the use of MS 365 in schools must be ended or the responsible schools must clearly demonstrate that they are operated in compliance with data protection regulations”.

Such a proof is to a certain extent hardly practicable, which is roughly equivalent to a ban.

Microsoft 365 fails investigation

The background is a pilot project by the Ministry of Education in Baden-Württemberg, which was accompanied by the data protection officer. It was also examined whether the Microsoft version adapted for schools met all data protection requirements.

It was found that Microsoft 365 functions that were particularly questionable in terms of data protection law were switched off or largely deactivated, but Microsoft 365 ultimately failed the investigation.

The schools did not have complete control over the entire system and the processor from the USA, so the conclusion. It is not completely comprehensible which personal data is processed for which purposes and it cannot be proven that processing is reduced to the absolute minimum. In addition, some data is transferred outside the EU, but this is mandatory according to the Data Protection Ordinance (DSGVO).

The Ministry of Education offers free alternatives

However, the state data protection officer also referred to alternatives, such as the learning platforms Moodle or Itslearning, which the Ministry of Education even offers schools free of charge. BigBlueButton would already be integrated into these platforms, via which video conferences could then also be carried out.

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