The Italian Competition Authority, in a press release, has announced a probe against cloud storage operators Google, Dropbox, and Apple. In the press release, the organization has announced the opening of a total of six cases against Google’s Drive, Dropbox, and Apple’s iCloud storage services under numerous allegations of commercial malpractices.
Possible consumer rights violations committed by said organizations against Italy’s Consumer Rights Directive, as well as the presence of worrisome clauses hidden in consumer contracts has also been a major concern have been the focal point of the probe. The cloud storage giants have been accused of unfair practices related to consumer data storage, using stored data for commercial purposes and the lack of consent over the collection of personal data over time.
Liability exemption of the loss of user data stored in the cloud space, suspending and interruption of services by the provider without prior notice, and a one-way dominance of contract modification by the company are also few of the unfair practices carried out by the accused companies.
Last but not least, precedence of English over Italian as the language used in the contractual text has also been brought under question, as it is unfair for Italians who do not speak the language and gives the companies an upper hand in sliding in hidden clauses.
Dropbox on the other hand has managed to bag a special mention in this case, charged with being unclear about the conveyance of contractual information with its user, on top of the other allegations. Procedures to withdraw from the contract or a right to re-evaluate prior agreement has also been deemed missing in the contract prescribed by the organization to its user base.
Commercial data collection and theft of personal information has been a thing of concern in recent times, hence the allegations made against corporations responsible for handling and the storage of public data, brings about a world of concern amongst the masses.
This probe comes at a time when the European Union has seen a country wide push for social media firms to clearly state their terms and conditions to its users. The use of simpler texts, and local languages in contracts, with changes made to the power of companies to unilaterally amend contracts, has all been initiated.