The German Authorities Failed a Massive Rejection of Microsoft
The German authorities took a decisive step. They decided to abandon the software from Microsoft. However, something went wrong, and the authorities of one of the German cities of a popular school could not cope with the transfer of all students to European video conferencing software products.
As it became known to journalists, the reason for the failure of the plan was bureaucratic delays.
Read our previous digest about cybersecurity events here.
What were the plans?
The preparation for the abandonment of Microsoft Teams in German schools started talking back in April 2021. The abandonment of the American videoconferencing service was supposed to be completed by the end of July, but as of December 29, Microsoft is still being used to teach German children.
Interestingly, the plans were thwarted due to bureaucratic problems. German officials simply disrupted all deadlines, thereby forcing schoolchildren to continue using Microsoft Teams.
However, at first the plan was carried out successfully. The Ministry of Culture of the State of Hesse has announced a tender for the creation of a state videoconferencing service, which will be based on web technologies and can be used on any device.
The winner of the tender was found very quickly, and the German authorities managed to complete the transition to a domestic product on time.
The scandal around the winner
Even though the winner was chosen quickly and honestly, the contestant who took second place appealed to the court, as he considered that the judging was unfair. The most interesting thing is that he won the trial.
The winner of the contest wanted to challenge this decision, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Therefore, the Hessian authorities posted a notice that the tender failed, and all school students can continue to use Microsoft Teams.
A little later, a new tender was announced, which was again disrupted. The Frankfurt Higher Regional Court completely stopped the competition, stating that the requirements for the service specified in the terms of the tender were not transparent enough.
In addition, the prospective winner of the contest did not have a ready-made replacement for Teams. Thus, Hesse schools will continue to use Teams. The timing of the third tender has not yet been set.
What are the plans of the authorities?
The Hessian authorities want to rid local educational institutions not only of Teams but also of the Microsoft Office package.
Recall that in 2019, German officials stated that the use of Microsoft cloud services in the basic configuration threatens the privacy of students and teachers. Concerns are related to the fact that Microsoft stores not only diagnostic information in its data centers but also some of the user documents that were opened in Office applications.
Such actions violate the rules of the European Union, according to which children under the age of 16 cannot independently consent to data processing.
In addition, Germany has been trying to abandon Microsoft since 2003, as they want to transfer everything to open source software.
It is worth noting that the Munich administration 2013 almost completely switched to using its own Linux distribution called LiMux, but in 2014 officials seriously thought about returning to the usual Windows. The process of switching back to Microsoft OS was completed by 2020.
How to protect your data on the internet? Learn more here.