An investigation by the European Union's Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) is analyzing Microsoft contracts with EU organizations following a discovery by the Dutch government that found Microsoft software violated the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The EDPS is an authority charged with monitoring EU institutions' compliance with data protection rules. In December, new outsourcing guidelines gave contractors direct responsibility for ensuring compliance. If an organization uses a third party to provide services, it's liable for data processing done on its behalf and must ensure its contracts abide by the new rules.
Microsoft products are under EDPS investigation following a Dutch government report that expressed concern about data collection in Microsoft Office ProPlus, which contains popular software like Word and Outlook. It claims to have found eight GDPR violations in Office ProPlus and Office 365. EDPS plans to look into which Microsoft tools and services are in use among EU institutions and whether their Microsoft contracts comply with the newest GDPR changes.
"Any EU institutions using the Microsoft applications investigated in this report are likely to face similar issues to those encountered by national public authorities, including increased risks to the rights and freedoms of individuals," the EDPS explained in a press release on the news.
It's worth noting that Microsoft responded to the Dutch government's concerns earlier this year, when it announced plans to introduce changes to ProPlus by the end of April 2019. Since the latest investigation was announced, the company has issued the following statement:
"We are committed to helping our customers comply with GDPR, Regulation 2018/1725, and other applicable laws and are confident that our contractual arrangements allow customers to do so. We stand ready to help our customers answer any questions the European Data Protection Supervisor may have," a spokesperson shared in an email with Dark Reading.
Read more details here.
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