HomeWinBuzzer NewsDoubts Raised over Microsoft 365 Data Protection Compliance in Germany

Doubts Raised over Microsoft 365 Data Protection Compliance in Germany

German Federal States Refuse to Release a Legal Report on Microsoft 365's Data Protection Compliance.


The German Federal States have declined to release a legal report on Microsoft 365’s compliance with data protection regulations. The report was commissioned to determine whether the states’ IT departments could use Microsoft 365 in a manner that complied with data protection laws. Golem.de, a German tech news outlet, requested access to the report but was refused.

Despite offering to pay for a content review and possible redaction of the document, the request was denied, writes Golem. The IT and technology department of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which manages the state IT, rejected the request, stating that the report’s release could affect the state’s relationship with other states and weaken its negotiating position with Microsoft.

Report Findings Could Negatively Affect Public Trust

The report was commissioned by the Federal States, excluding Thuringia, and their IT service providers to examine whether and how Microsoft 365 could be used in compliance with data protection regulations. The report’s findings could affect the public’s ability to trust the Federal States to handle their personal data securely.

Arne Semsrott of Frag den Staat, a German non-profit that promotes transparency, criticized the decision to keep the report secret. He stated that if the government knows about data protection issues, it must inform the public about them. Semsrott added that it was unacceptable for the states to agree to keep the report confidential, as it should be accessible to the public.

The report was prompted by negotiations between the German Federal Government and Microsoft on conditional contracts, which were signed in February 2021. These contracts included special conditions for government organizations in the Federal Republic that use Microsoft products. While the contracts include more favorable usage rights regulations, more far-reaching regulations on security, and more favorable conditions in other respects, they are conditional.

Federal States and municipalities are not obligated to use Microsoft products and can choose other cloud-based software solutions. The report’s findings could impact the use of Microsoft products by government organizations and their handling of citizens’ personal data.

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Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.

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