France has shot down the possibility of schools using free versions of Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.
Schools around the world rely on Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, since both productivity options provide commercial-grade features for free, especially for schools. As part of the EU, France is concerned the productivity suites are not compatible with EU privacy laws and run afoul of French procurement laws, since there is no payment exchanged.
“Free service offers are therefore, in principle, excluded from the scope of public procurement,” the Ministry of National Education statement says, according to The Register.
Moving to the paid versions of both productivity suites only solves one potential problem, namely the procurement issue, with data privacy still being a major sticking point.
The EU has been cracking down on the use of US-based cloud services that store user data within the US. Because of the vast surveillance programs US agencies engage in, the EU does not deem US-based data storage as a safe option for its citizens.