Outlook app for Android and iOS blocked by EU parliament on privacy grounds

EU

One of the real hot topics over the last few years, as more and more of us shift our operations to the cloud, has been that of privacy. With corporations the world over offering to take our data and store it in unknown corners of the globe for a nominal fee, security becomes a major concern.

This is especially the case with certain groups, such as governments, which trade highly sensitive information day in and day out. The devices used by our elected members are carefully vetted by security experts to make sure that everything is watertight. Sometimes devices don’t make the cut, sometimes it is apps. Outlook for Android and iOS, by Microsoft, has become the latest piece of software to fail the stringent security demands of the EU Parliament, and as such its members are now blocked from using the app on those platforms.

Microsoft

The question is one of geography. Though the app is smooth and slick, based almost exactly on the well-received design from Acompli (purchased by Microsoft); that it passes mail onto a third-party over which the parliament has no control is a serious cause for concern. When data moves to the ‘cloud’, in actually it is passed to a geographically-located server. Who owns this server has certain powers over the data at their disposal. Without knowing in whose hands their data lays, this is something of a concern for a governmental body. With the effects of the Snowden revelations still at play, governments around the world now pay very close attention.

With such powerful unknowns at play, it is no wonder that the EU parliament would take such a step. Indeed, even with this app it is hardly the first to do so. The University of Wisconsin made a similar ruling recently, as did the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

As Microsoft takes privacy very seriously, expect to see a fix for this issue shortly. Such news often spreads very quickly, and with so much at stake with the privacy game, it would hardly be surprising if this would prove to be the case. 

Do you use Outlook on Android or iOS? Let us know in the comments below.

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