Although in our impression, Microsoft’s software is in an unshakable position in the fields of education and government, in recent years Google has quietly eaten away most of Microsoft’s share of the European education market.
Google can do this by relying on Google Workspace, which is in a rivalry with Microsoft 365, which is a cloud-based paid productivity and collaboration suite provided by Google.
However, the Google Workspace suite has recently faced doubts from the Dutch Ministry of Education. Dutch Minister of Education Van Engelshoven and Slob sent a letter to the House of Commons of the Netherlands, stating that Google Workspace has major problems in privacy protection, especially in terms of metadata.
The Dutch Ministry of Education previously conducted a survey on Google Workspace and Google Workspace for Education and learned that Google can monitor what they are searching for using the suite, how long they have been shared, and what they clicked. After that, Google can also use this data for users of the Ministry of Education to provide personalized advertising.
As Google stated in the user agreement that they have the right to unilaterally adjust the terms and conditions of software and data use, even if there is a privacy breach, the Dutch Ministry of Education generally cannot find Google’s fault.
At present, the Dutch government has banned government employees from using Google Workspace, but the Ministry of Education is still using Google Workspace for Education. Google responded to this matter and said it was communicating with the Dutch government.