France and US Businesses: Semi Permanent Immiscibility?

November 30, 2022

Unlike a pendulum, the French government and two US high-technology poster kids don’t see eye to eye. However, governments, particularly those in France, are not impressed with the business practices of some US firms. The tried and true “Senator, thank you for the question” and assurances that the companies in questions are following the ethical precepts of respected French philosophers don’t work. “France Directs Schools to Stop Using Microsoft Office & Google Workspace” reports:

In a recent response to an interrogation by a Member of the Parliament, the French Minister of Education clarified that French schools should not use Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. The reasons behind the Ministry’s position are twofold. First, the Ministry is concerned about the confidentiality and lawfulness of data transfers. Second, reliance on European providers is coherent with the government’s “cloud at the center” policy.

The write up explains that France’s view of privacy and the practices of Apple and Google are not in sync. Then there is the issue of the cloud and where data and information “are.” Given modern network and data center technology, the “there” is often quite tricky to pin down. Tricky is not a word the current French government feels comfortable using when talking about schools, teachers, students, and research conducted by French universities.

How will this play out? France will get its way. That’s why some chickens have labels which mean conformance. No label on that chicken, no deal.

Stephen E Arnold, November 30, 2022


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