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Microsoft reacts to EU complaints over children’s data privacy

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Microsoft, an American multinational corporation and technology giant, has responded to a legal complaint suggesting that hundreds of thousands of kids may be tracked by their education software, which is widely used in schools across Europe.

A nonprofit privacy rights organization called NOYB filed two complaints against Microsoft about its cloud-based educational software package, Microsoft 365 Education, with the Austrian data protection authority (DPA), which confirmed this information on Tuesday.

According to the first complaint, data processing is not carried out in a transparent manner. NOYB pointed out that Microsoft tries to put the burden of GDPR compliance on schools through its contracts.

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The usage of tracking cookies by the Microsoft 365 Education program was the subject of the second complaint. Reportedly, these cookies collect surfing data and monitor user behavior, potentially for commercial gain.

“Our analysis of the data flows is very worrying. Microsoft 365 Education appears to track users regardless of their age. This practice is likely to affect hundreds of thousands of pupils and students in the EU and EEA [European Economic Area],” said NOYB lawyer Felix Mikolasch.

While reacting to the complaints lodged against it, Microsoft said it was happy to answer any questions from data protection agencies regarding NOYB’s complaints.

“M365 for Education complies with GDPR and other applicable privacy laws, and we thoroughly protect the privacy of our young users,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

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