European Commission's Use of Microsoft 365 Deemed Not Compliant with Privacy Law

The European Data Protection Supervisor announced this week (PDF) that the European Commission (EC) itself broke European Union data protection laws when using Microsoft 365 services.

In using Microsoft 365 services, the EC failed to specify in its contract with Microsoft which data can be collected and for what purposes. The EC also failed to have safeguards in place regarding the transfer of data outside the European Union area.

In making its findings, the European Data Protection Supervisor ordered the EC to bring its use of Microsoft 365 services into compliance with the EU's data protection regulation. Microsoft 365 data flows that don't comply with the regulation are to be suspended, "effective on 9 December 2024."  

The failure of the EC to ensure safeguards when contracting to use Microsoft 365 services happened over a three-year span. The infraction dates back to "12 May 2021," continuing throughout the decision date of the European Data Protection Supervisor on "8 March 2024."

The announcement didn't indicate that Microsoft itself was noncompliant with EU data protection laws. Instead, the Supervisor put the blame on the EC for not contractually specifying how its data could be processed using Microsoft 365 services.

The European Data Protection Supervisor is an independent body that's empowered to conduct data protection audits and issue corrective actions, based on enforcing EU Regulation 2018/1725 on the processing of personal data. It specifically has those audit and corrective duties with regard to EU institutions, per an FAQ document description.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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