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Microsoft gets das boot in Germany as local gov opts for Libre Office.

"Digital sovereignty is at least as important as energy sovereignty."

The German government of Schleswig-Holstein has decided that it will be forgoing Microsoft Office to instead pursue an open-source software solution based on Libre Office.

"Schleswig-Holstein will be the first state to introduce a digitally sovereign IT workplace in its state administration as a digital pioneer region and the first state. With a cabinet decision to introduce the open-source software LibreOffice as a standard office solution across the board," the local authorities said.

"Government has given the go-ahead for the first step towards complete digital sovereignty in the country, with further steps to follow."

The decision comes a month after Europe's data protection watchdog the European Protection Supervisor (EDPS) concluded that the European Commission's use of Microsoft 365 infringed several EU data provisions covering the transfer of personal data outside the EU/EAA.

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Under the deal, the local government will make the open source software an open format and allow citizens access to not only their data, but the software used to manage it.

The government says that this will only be the beginning, as it plans to transition telephony, directory services, and even its base operating system to open source platforms.

"As a country, we have a great responsibility towards our citizens and companies to ensure that their data is in safe hands with us," said Schleswig-Holstein minister of digitization Dirk Schrödter.

"And we must ensure that we are in control of the IT solutions we use at all times and that we as a state can act independently. Ensuring digital sovereignty is at least as important as energy sovereignty."

Given liberal permission to phone home (this can be adjusted by end-users), a computer running Windows 10 will fire information about up to 1,200 “events” on the computer, the software, and its user’s behaviour back to Microsoft’s US-based database.

At any point, approximately 10 teams of engineers will have access to the data harvested, and this collection of telemetry data is dynamic: Microsoft engineers can add new types of events to the telemetry stream without prior notice to the users.

Microsoft Office 365 telemetry alone spans between 23 and 25 thousand events, in the hands of 20-30 engineering teams.

That's according to Dutch analysis in an official 2019 paper that appears to have since been removed from the website but which was archived bya the Wayback Machine and is available below as a PDF.