Why has France banned the use of Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace in its schools?

France has paralyzed the use of office automation services Microsoft Office 365 Education and Google Workspace for Education in all educational centers for not meeting the requirements related to cybersecurity in this country.

This veto is the result of a claim made at the end of last August by the member of the French National Assembly Philippe Latombre, who warned the Minister of National Education and YouthPap NDiaye, that the free versions of these services were not SecNumCloud-rated.

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SecNumCloud is an indicative or certificate from the French National Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI), which rates cloud computing service providers based on the level of security and trust they offer.

According to Latombe, the free offer offered by Microsoft and Google for their services “It is similar to a form of ‘dumping’ and unfair competitionas can be seen in the response document for this question, whereby France has prohibited the use of Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace in schools and educational centers in the country.

‘Dumping’ occurs when foreign companies introduce products at prices allegedly low in the European market based on different cases, such as the granting of subsidies to imported products or the fact that companies produce in excess and sell their services at reduced prices in other markets.

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This introduces the concept of ‘cloud at the core’, which specifies that for a digital system handling sensitive data, the use of a commercial cloud offering is only possible if it receives the SecNumCloud rating.

Thus, it stands out that in an order of the Interministerial Digital Directorate (DINUM) dated September 15, 2021, the Microsoft Office 365 collaborative suite is specified does not meet the requirements for centralized management.

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Therefore, although Microsoft 365 services are operated in the company’s data centers located in France, they are not immune to the regulations imposed by the European Union in terms of cybersecurity and data protection.

On the other hand, mention is made of a letter from the National Commission for Informatics and Liberties (CNIL) dated May 27, 2021 that recommends that educational centers use collaborative suites offered by providers exclusively subject to European legislation. that host data within the European Union, without transferring them to the United States (due to the origin of Microsoft and Google).

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