Apple, Dropbox and Google have ended up in the crosshairs of the Italian Antitrust Authority which is investigating the three companies to verify if they have implemented unfair commercial practices and applied unfair contractual rules to the detriment of consumers. The matter of the dispute is represented by the cloud services proposed respectively through iCloud, Dropbox and Google Drive. At the moment, the AGCM confirms that the proceedings are in the preliminary phase. We will have to wait for the outcome of the investigations for any sanctions.
Apple thus has to face the second major investigation by the AGCM in less than two months – the other is the one formalized at the end of July in which Amazon is also involved.
The allegations against Apple and Google for unfair business practices are based on the alleged disclosure missing or inadequate on the activity of collection and use of personal data for commercial purposes; furthermore the possible undue influence on consumers who, to use the cloud storage service, would not be able to express consent to the collection and use for commercial purposes of information concerning them.
For Dropbox, the accusations are even more extensive: in addition to those made against Apple and Google, there is also having failure to provide information on conditions, terms and procedures for withdrawing from the contract and exercising the right to reconsider in a clear and immediately accessible manner. Dropbox would also not allow the user to easily use out-of-court dispute resolution procedures.
Finally, Apple, Google and Dropbox would have included forbidden clauses in the cloud storage contracts because they are vexatious. Among those indicted are the contractual provisions which
- give the operator ample power to suspend and interrupt the service
- they release the operator from liability in case of loss of documents stored in the user's cloud
- establish the possibility of unilaterally modifying the contractual conditions
- establish the prevalence of the English version of the contract text over the Italian version
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