European Commission facing rebuke for using Microsoft 365

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The European Commission is under intense scrutiny as the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has issued a stern rebuke for severe data protection infringements, all of which are directly linked to the Commission’s use of Microsoft 365.

The investigation, initiated in May 2021, has unearthed alarming concerns about the transfer of personal data outside the EU and EEA, a finding that has serious implications for data protection.

According to the EDPS report, several breaches had been made, emphasizing the Commission’s failure to implement adequate safeguards for personal data transfers beyond the protection of the EU and EEA.

European Commission in trouble for its use of Microsoft 365

Wojciech Wiewiórowski, EDPS, underscored the gravity of the situation: “It is the responsibility of the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies (EUIs) to ensure that any processing of personal data outside and inside the EU/EEA, including in the context of cloud-based services, is accompanied by robust data protection safeguards and measures.”

As part of the corrective measures, the European Commission has been directed to suspend all data flows through Microsoft 365 to Microsoft and its affiliates outside of the EU and EEA not covered by an adequacy decision.

The EC has also been given until December 9, 2024 to make its processing operations compliant, with the EDPS claiming that its reaction has been “appropriate, necessary and proportionate.”

A Microsoft spokesperson told TechRadar Pro in an email:

"Our customers in Europe can continue to use Microsoft 365 in full compliance with the GDPR and can count on our continued support and guidance. Concerns raised by the European Data Protection Supervisor relate largely to stricter transparency requirements under the EUDPR, a law that applies only to the European Union institutions. We will review the EDPS’ decision and work with the European Commission to address the remaining concerns."

More broadly, Microsoft is a name that’s on the tip of European workers’ tongues for other reasons, including the ongoing antitrust case relating to its dominance in the cloud business, which is allegedly a result of its unfair business practices.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!