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Italian Data Probe Eyes Google, Apple and Dropbox for Cloud Computing Services

September 8, 2020

The proceedings relate to alleged unfair commercial practices and the possible presence of unfair clauses in the contractual conditions.

The Competition and Market Authority has launched six investigations against some of the main global operators of cloud computing services. The parties involved are Google (for the Google Drive service), Apple (for the iCloud service) and Dropbox, each affected by both a proceeding for alleged unfair commercial practices and / or violations of the Consumer Rights Directive and one for alleged clauses vexatious included in the contractual conditions.

In particular, the investigations for unfair practices against Google and Apple concern the failure or inadequate indication, when presenting the service, of the collection and use for commercial purposes of the data provided by the user and the possible undue influence in towards consumers, who, in order to use the cloud storage service, would not be in a position to give the operator their consent to the collection and use of information concerning them for commercial purposes.

The same complaints are also raised against Dropbox, which is also accused - in addition - of failing to provide in a clear and immediately accessible way the information on the conditions, terms and procedures for withdrawing from the contract and for exercising the right to reconsider. Furthermore, not to allow the user the easy recourse to extra-judicial mechanisms for the conciliation of disputes, to which the professional is subject, with the information necessary to access them.

Procedures for unfair clauses, on the other hand, concern some contractual conditions set out in the relative models of the aforementioned companies, such as: the operator's ample right to suspend and interrupt the service; liability exemption even in the event of loss of documents stored in the user's cloud space; the possibility of unilateral modification of the contractual conditions; the prevalence of the English version of the contract text over the Italian version.

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