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EU divided over handling of migrants, refugee crisis deepens

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Photo Credit: www.foxnews.com

By NewsGram Staff-Writer

Roszke, Hungary: As the number of migrants entering Hungary through the Balkans saw a record increase, Austria suspended the cross-border train services on Thursday.

Photo Credit: www.cnbc.com
Photo Credit: www.cnbc.com

Germany which has already accepted around 450,000 migrants this year, has warned that the EU’s efforts to distribute 160,000 new arrivals among the member states is only “a drop in the ocean”, according to a report in the Times of India.

Germany has urged the 28-nation group to go further. German Deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said: “The distribution of 160,000 refugees across Europe is a first step if one wants to be polite.”

Meanwhile, the eastern members of the EU, as well as those in the frontline of the migrant influx, are putting forward stiff opposition to the EU’s migrant-distribution plans. They have refused to accept any binding quota from EU.

In light of the refugee crisis, Romania President Klaus Iohannis has said: “It is inappropriate to talk about mandatory quotas, calculated on an extremely bureaucratic basis, almost like an accountancy exercise I might say, without consulting member states,” as quoted in a TOI report.

The Greek island of Lesbos has registered around 22,500 refugees since Monday evening. In Hungary, 3,321 refugees rushed to the country on Thursday before a strict anti-migrant law comes into effect.

Austria had to suspend its train operations to Hungary due to massive overcrowding. The UN refugee agency has warned that at least 42,000 refugees are likely to enter Hungary next week.

EU interior ministers are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss the easing out of the mounting pressure on the border members by distributing the refugees across the block.

EU lawmakers have called for an international conference with the United Nations, US, and Arab countries to discuss the issue of migration amid the Syrian refugee crisis.

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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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Microsoft, Taiwan AI
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.

microsoft, xbox
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.

Also Read: Facebook Not to Launch Libra Until Regulators are Fully Satisfied

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)