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In connection with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Dutch government tasked the Privacy Company agency with investigating and identifying the privacy risks of Office 365 ProPlus (the most recent version of the Office suite to be installed on your laptop/desktop).

This suite is used by many government agencies, including – as of recently – the UvA (this is the new Office package for workstations that was rolled out at the UvA in the last few months). Based on the results of that investigation, Microsoft has announced that it will be improving the privacy settings and terms of the Office suite.

Investigation results

Among the findings of the investigation was that Microsoft collects data regarding individual use of the various components of the Office suite, without providing transparency in this area or offering users a choice in the matter. Microsoft says it collects this data for the purpose of providing its online services in safe and optimal fashion.

Structural improvements

Based on the investigation, Microsoft has agreed to make improvements in the interest of transparency, and to give end users the option to decide which data they are willing to share with Microsoft. In the meantime, until these structural improvements are available, Microsoft has recommended temporary settings in order to limit the exchange of data. The structural improvements are expected to become available to the UvA in a new version of the Office suite in January 2020.

Transitional period

The AUAS has implemented the temporary settings for the Office suite as optimally as possible.