The Italian Competition Authority announced today that it has launched investigations into cloud services run by Apple, Dropbox, and Google. The Italian Competition Authority—the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, or AGCM—is not an antitrust regulator but instead enforces Italian and European consumer protection laws.
“The Competition and Markets Authority has launched six investigations against some of the world’s leading operators in cloud computing services,” the AGCM announced. “Those involved are Google (for the Google Drive service), Apple (for the iCloud service) and Dropbox, each affected by both proceedings for alleged misconduct and/or violations of the Consumer Rights Directive and one for alleged vexatious clauses included in the contractual terms.”
The Consumer Rights Directive quoted above is a set of EU consumer protection rules that dictates, among other things, what EU citizens must be informed of before a purchase, and their right to cancel online purchases and withdraw from associated contracts.
According to the AGCM, all three companies have engaged in misconduct by which the firms fail to alert consumers that they are collecting personal data and using it for commercial purposes. Dropbox is additionally charged with the additional crime of “failing to provide clearly and immediately accessible information on the terms, terms, and procedures for withdrawing from the contract and exercising the right to reconsider.”
The AGCM is also looking into some related issues with each company related to the cessation of services, liability related to document/data loss, and “the prevalence of the English version of the contract text compared to the Italian version.”
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