Italy is Investigating Apple, Dropbox, and Google

Posted on September 7, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, Cloud, Google with 4 Comments

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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Comments (4)

4 responses to “Italy is Investigating Apple, Dropbox, and Google”

  1. SvenJ

    "alleged vexatious clauses", oh my!

  2. harrymyhre

    re: Google ads - the example I always think of is a little barbershop in Milan. If that barbershop wants to place a google ad, how in the heck do you think Google based in Cupertino knows anything about the little Milan barbershop. It just doesn't make sense to me that this one massive company in Cupertino, California should have a stranglehold on all the advertising. And as someone said the other day - things will change. Today we see print ads, we see ads on our local TV, Radio. But every day, influencers tell us to "cut the cord". When the cord is cut, then what happens to all the local news, TV and Radio? It's all gone. And then what replaces it? All of our media comes from a big tower somewhere in Chicago? Do we want that? And all the advertising is controlled by Google? I used google products, but I don't want them to have a stranglehold on everything.

    • wright_is

      In reply to Harrymyhre:

      I do agree, but as a counterpoint, they do have local offices in many countries to deal with local advertising, even if the revenues get funnelled through a tax haven and the local office is just an expense.

      I have all of Google's advertising and tracking sites blocked by DNS, as I do not agree with them tracking me across the Internet, so I see relatively little advertising. (Over 2,500 Facebook addresses are also blocked, along with another 2.5 million or so.)

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