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Catalan Former Leader Faces Extradition Threat Again

Catalonia's former leader Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday faced fresh threats of extradition from Germany, where a regional prosecutor's office has requested that he be sent to Spain to face charges of rebellion.

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Activists protest with a giant Catalan flag
Activists protest with a giant Catalan flag during a mass rally against Catalonia's declaration of independence, in Barcelona, Spain. VOA

Catalonia’s former leader Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday faced fresh threats of extradition from Germany, where a regional prosecutor’s office has requested that he be sent to Spain to face charges of rebellion.

The Spanish judiciary had sent new documents to German authorities regarding the charges being issued against Puigdemont, meaning the Schleswig-Holstein regional prosecution has requested that an extradition request issued by Spain be considered again by courts, sources from the prosecutor’s office told Efe news.

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Flag of Germany. Pixabay

The regional court had previously refused to extradite Puigdemont on rebellion charges and was studying whether to hand him over to Spain to face trial over alleged misuse of public funds.

Puigdemont is wanted in Spain for an investigation into possible rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for his alleged role in Catalonia’s separatist referendum and subsequent declaration of independence, deemed unconstitutional by the Spanish judiciary.

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He fled to Belgium before he could be arrested but was later detained in Germany. (IANS)

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Schools in Germany Ban Use of Microsoft Office 365 Over Data Privacy

The authority said what is true for Microsoft is also true for the Google and Apple cloud solutions

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A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

In a first such case globally, schools in Germany have banned the use of Microsoft Office 365, after a data privacy authority for the state of Hesse ruled that using the popular software exposes personal information of students and teachers “to potential access by US authorities”.

“The use of Microsoft Office 365 in schools is illegal under data protection law, as far as schools store personal data in the European cloud,” said the ruling by Michael Ronellenfitsch, the Hesse Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HBDI).

In declaring that Windows 10 and Office 365 is not compliant with EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for use in schools, this development ends years of debate over whether “schools can use Microsoft’s Office 365 software in compliance with data protection regulations”.

The Hesse Commissioner has suggested schools to switch to similar applications with on-premise licenses on local systems.

Microsoft said it looks forward to working with the Hesse Commissioner to better understand their concerns.

“When Office 365 is connected to a work or school account, administrators have a range of options to limit features that are enabled by sending data to Microsoft. We recently announced based on customer feedback, new steps towards even greater transparency and control for these organizations when it comes to sharing this data,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Arstechnica in a statement.

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FILE – A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 18, 2017. VOA

For years, there has been a discussion in Germany about whether schools can use Microsoft’s Office 365 software in compliance with data protection regulations.

In August 2018, Microsoft announced to the public that for the Germany cloud contracts are no longer offered and the distribution of this product is discontinued.

Since then, the data protection authority asked a large number of teachers and school administrators, as well as school authorities, to use Office 365 in the European cloud.

“With the use of the Windows 10 operating system, a wealth of telemetry data is transmitted to Microsoft, whose content has not been finally clarified despite repeated inquiries at Microsoft. Such data is also transmitted when using Office 365. Also, the digital sovereignty of state data processing must be guaranteed,” said HBDI.

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The authority said what is true for Microsoft is also true for the Google and Apple cloud solutions.

“The cloud solutions of these providers have so far not been transparent and comprehensible set out. Therefore, it is also true that for schools the privacy-compliant use is currently not possible,” said HBDI. (IANS)