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France bans its ministers from using the Office 365 cloud for fear that Microsoft may share sensitive information with the US government

France has gone one step further in protecting its digital sovereignty. According to an internal circular to which Public Actors has had access, the director of the ‘Direction interministérielle du numérique’, considered the department of information systems of the French state, has prohibited ministers from using Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365 ).

As the agency explains, Microsoft 365 “does not comply with the center’s cloud doctrine” and therefore requires the different public officials to do not use the cloud version. They will still be able to use the Office software, but not the collaborative solution in the cloud.

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The regulations come to face the Cloud Act of the United States, where they can order the disclosure of data stored in Europe by US companies regardless of your location. The French government fears that Microsoft 365, hosted on Azure, could lead to a data leak and therefore opts to force the use of tools hosted on French servers.

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“The collaborative, office automation and messaging solutions offered to public officials are framed in sensitive data management systems“explains the interministerial director to justify this measure. Data such as” personal data of French citizens, economic data relating to French companies, or commercial applications relating to public officials of the State. ”

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As a replacement for Microsoft’s cloud, the ministries They will be able to use the national internal cloud or those solutions that have received the label ‘SecNumCloud’, issued by the National Agency for the Security of Information Systems, and which includes companies run by Europeans and with servers in France. A label that at the moment only have three companies: Oodrive, 3DS Outscale and OVHcloud.

According to the statement, public officials will also be able to use the tools of Bleu, a company created by Orange and Capgemini and part of the Gaia-X initiative. A structure with French servers through which Microsoft could offer the services Microsoft 365 for these officials.


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In May, the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (CNIL) already adopted a similar position where it considered that it was necessary to find alternative solutions to the collaborative tools of US companies, at least in the field of university education and research. Now, the French systems department has given the internal order to advance in the process of disengaging from the software in the cloud of North American origin.

From Engadget we have consulted with Microsoft on this matter. We will update when we get response.

Image | Matthew Manuel