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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Microsoft lets cloud users keep personal data in Europe to ease privacy fears

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Microsoft said it is upgrading its cloud computing service to let customers store all personal data within the European Union instead of having it flow to the US where national privacy laws do not exist.

The changes apply to services including Azure, Microsoft 365, Power Platform, and Dynamics 365, the Seattle-based technology company said.

Cloud computing companies have been moving to localise data storage and processing amid tightening requirements in the EU, which has strict data privacy laws.

Brussels and Washington have spent years wrangling over the safety of EU citizens’ data that tech companies store in the US following revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the American government eavesdropped on people’s online data and communications.

Microsoft said its “EU Data Boundary solution goes beyond European compliance requirements”.

The company has previously pledged that customers would not have their data moved outside the EU.

Last year, it started storing and processing some data inside Europe.

Now it is expanding that to all personal data, including pseudonymised data found in automated system logs, which are generated automatically when online services run.

Later this year, Microsoft will start making sure technical support data is kept within Europe. It also plans a paid option for initial tech support response from within the EU.

Last year, Amazon rolled out independent cloud infrastructure for the EU as it looked to address strict regulations that companies and public sector organisations face.

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