How Hesse's Privacy Ban on School Software Hurts Students

August 1, 2019

It is now illegal for schools in the central German state of Hesse to use Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity software thanks to a ruling by the state’s Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HBDI), who recently declared that the cloud-based platform violates German privacy laws. As Eline Chivot writes for The Local, the HBDI’s decision is a striking example of how overly restrictive privacy laws can leave European consumers worse off by making valuable technology off limits. The goal of privacy laws should be to protect consumers, not limit innovation. Accomplishing this requires regulators to act carefully and deliberately. This decision by the HBDI will do nothing to improve student privacy, but it will leave students worse off.