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On January 8, 2020, Microsoft published its updated Online Services Terms that incorporate the changes that had been announced last November.
These changes include an update to the privacy provisions in the Microsoft Online Services Terms (OST) and reflect the contractual changes Microsoft developed with the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security (Dutch MoJ), one of their public sector customers.
These changes aim at providing more transparency over data processing in the Microsoft cloud. As stated by Julie Brill, Corporate Vice President for Global Privacy and Regulatory Affairs and Chief Privacy Officer in a blog post: "At Microsoft, we consider privacy a fundamental right, and we believe stronger privacy protections through greater transparency and accountability should benefit our customers everywhere."
Through the OST update, Microsoft wants to clarify its responsibilities for cloud services and particularly their data protection responsibilities for a subset of processing that Microsoft engages in when they provide enterprise services.
As part of its responsibilities, "Microsoft assumes the role of the data controller when they process data for specified administrative and operational purposes incident to providing the cloud services covered by this contractual framework, such as Azure, Office 365, Dynamics and Intune. This subset of data processing serves administrative or operational purposes such as account management; financial reporting; combatting cyberattacks on any Microsoft product or service, and complying with our legal obligations."
The fact that Microsoft clarifies its responsibility as the controller for this set of data uses will enable us to give more transparency about how they use data and will reinforce their commitment to data privacy to make sure it is managed in a compliant way.
These new contractual terms are available to all Microsoft's customers, globally, no matter the sector or the size of their business.
Microsoft is currently the only major cloud provider to offer such terms in the European Economic Area (EEA) and beyond.
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