“Stop using Google Apps”, local council told

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Google Apps is not secure enough for use by public sector organisations, according to Datainspektionen, the Swedish equivalent of the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The body has told Salem Municipal Council, located to the southwest of Stockholm, that the current contract it intends to sign with Google does not meet Swedish data protection regulations.

In its ruling, Datainspektionen claims the proposed Google Apps agreement “does not conform with [previously made] instructions with regard to the treatment and disposal of personal information, nor does it guarantee the Council sufficient transparency into any sub-contractors hired”.

The organisation concludes that Salem Municipal Council must either cease the use of Google Apps for the processing of personal data, or take steps to amend the contract so that is complies with the law and gives the municipality knowledge of all subcontractors that would be handling the data.

This is not the first time Datainspektionen has clashed with the Salem local government over its use of Google Apps.

In 2011, the municipal council fell foul of the Swedish Data Protection Act, as it did not put in place a bespoke contract with Google Apps before signing up to the cloud service. This, Datainspektionen said, gave the cloud service provider too much leeway to process personal information for its own purposes.

The municipality has three weeks to appeal the decision, which Tony Söderlund, head of IT for Salem Municipal Council, told ZDNet the local authority would do.

"We are working with our response and it's too early to say what the response will be, but we are confident that our agreement with Google applies to Swedish and European laws,” he said.

"We are not thinking about abandoning Google Apps, partially because there is no alternative to Google's excellent services."

Jane McCallion
Managing Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialize in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.