Microsoft must leave schools, confirms the Ministry of National Education

In a question asked over the summer to the Ministry of National Education, deputy Philippe Latombe had warned about the free Office 365 for students and teachers, noting that the practice could be akin to a form of “dumping and unfair competition” that encouraged long-term use, in the absence of a tender.

In its response to the deputy, published this week, the Ministry of National Education indicated that it had requested the cessation of “any implementation or extension of this solution, as well as Google’s, which would be in breach of the GDPR”.

Cloud at the center, SecNumCloud above all

If the free use of Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace services in schools is not recommended by the ministry, it is also contrary to the “Cloud at the center” doctrine, which was revealed in May 2021.

In a circular sent to the secretaries-general of the ministries in September 2021, the digital department reminded the administrations that the use of Office 365 solutions was not in fact in line with the doctrine “The cloud in the center” and that the administrations should rather choose a service labeled SecNumCloud .

The Microsoft Office 365 solution offers an office suite hosted exclusively on Microsoft’s cloud, Azure, and therefore potentially subject to the US Cloud Act.

The local authorities have a hand

As recalled by the Ministry of National Education, the local authorities to which schools are attached are required to ensure “the acquisition and maintenance of infrastructure and equipment, including computer hardware and software, made available for their commissioning”.

As such, local governments can “provide digital occupational health and safety (ENT) solutions to companies that offer communication and collaboration capabilities that respect the principles of GDPR and digital sovereignty, thereby enabling collaborative offerings to be dispensed with. Americans are not immune from extraterritorial law,” ends the ministry.

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