Dutch Education ministry finds Google’s Workspace unsafe for school and government use

by Surur
March 3, 2021

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After years of focus on Microsoft’s software in education and government, Google’s encroachment on the education market in Europe and resulted in more scrutiny on their solution, and the Dutch Education ministry has found them lacking, reports NOS.

In a letter to the Dutch Lower House, education ministers Van Engelshoven and Slob explained that the software lacked important privacy controls, especially when it came to meta-data.

Their investigation of Google Workspace and Google Workspace for Education found that Google had full control of meta-data such as what searches were made inside the product, how long users stayed logged in and what they clicked.

This data could later be used for targeting advertising for example. In addition, Google reserved to itself the right to unilaterally adjust the terms and conditions of the use of their software and data, resulting in Educational institutions having “no or insufficient control” over their own data.

“This creates a potential risk in the future,” the letter notes.

The Dutch government already bans the use of Google Workplace in government offices, after Google failed to address most of their privacy concerns.

Conversely, the investigation found Microsoft’s products, which has been time tested in this regard, pose no major risk “if the user takes a number of measures” which have already been laid out by the privacy authority.

TheĀ  Education Department does not yet intend to ban Google Workspace for Education, while talks continue with Google and the European Commission.

In a statement, Google said, “We have already taken several measures to address the concerns and are continuing discussions with the Dutch government.”

Thanks, A. Staallekker for the tip.

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