Microsoft to modify Office ProPlus by end of April in response to Dutch ministry’s privacy concerns

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Microsoft is going to make unspecified updates to Office ProPlus, a subscription version of Office, in response to alleged privacy violations raised by the Netherlands’ justice ministry, according to a report by Politico. The Dutch authorities said late last year that Microsoft’s data-collection telemetry mechanism violated the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In its report last Fall, the Dutch ministry found eight issues they said they’d found in Office ProPlus and Office 365. They said at the time that Microsoft had covertly collected personal data on a grand scale, without properly informing users. The Dutch report also said they found the telemetry collection system was sending some Dutch user data to U.S. servers, which would leave it open to being seized or queried by U.S. law enforcement.

According to a February 8 Politico story, Microsoft has pledge to update its Office ProPlus products by the end of April so they will comply with privacy regulations there. That report cites Microsoft privacy and regulatory counsel Julie Brill as saying Microsoft will be taking “additional steps to make it easier for customers to understand what data needs to go to Microsoft to run our services and why, and where data-sharing is optional.”

I asked Microsoft if the company was releasing more information about what kind of modifications may be coming as a result of the Dutch inquiry. No word back so far. 

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