Shortly before the end of 2018, the SWITCH foundation and Google signed a framework contract to use ‘G Suite for Education’. This regulates Swiss universities’ access to Google’s online office services. The agreement is the first of its kind in the world, as until now, Google had only signed agreements with individual universities.
G Suite for Education offers a host of online productivity tools, such as Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, which form the core of the service. Additional services such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Classroom and Chat are also offered, and users get unlimited storage with Google Drive. User access rights can be managed via an administration portal, which enables the administrator to manage access to individual services.
The main strength of G Suite is collaboration, meaning that documents can be used and edited by more than one person. Documents are autosaved, and previous versions can be restored at any time. G-Suite is an alternative for students, lecturers, employees and alumni of Swiss universities that is tailored to their needs, and that sets itself apart from other services available.
The framework contract between SWITCH and Google is GDPR compliant and data protection is therefore regulated for both natural and, specifically for Switzerland, legal persons. G Suite data is not collected, searched or used for advertising purposes. Furthermore, advertisements are not displayed in the main G Suite services.
Cantonal data protection laws may contain regulations that deviate from the Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection Act (FADP) which is why the contract is currently being reviewed by Privatim. We will inform you as soon as we receive these results.
User data is always encrypted during transmission and storage. Upon request, your data can also be protected with an additional private key. The framework contract is subject to Swiss law, with jurisdiction in Zurich.
SWITCH is planning to run a small information campaign together with Google at Swiss universities, providing information about the framework contract and the opportunities linked to it.