Apple iCloud, Google Drive and Dropbox probed on 'unfair' cloud storage practices

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Blackboard)

Some of the world's top cloud storage services are facing an investigation over supposedly unfair business practices in Europe.

The competition authority in Italy (ACGM) has announced it is opening a probe into Apple iCloud, Google Drive and Dropbox following a number of complaints concerning "unfair commercial practices".

The ACGM has launched six investigations, which will also focus on alleged violations of Italy's Consumer Rights Directive, as well as "vexatious clauses" included in certain contractual conditions.

Cloud storage probe

In a press release, the ACGM noted that the unfair practices alleged against Apple and Google concern the collection of user data which was then used for commercial purposes. The watchdog adds that users were not given sufficient information or the opportunity to be in the position to give consent to the collection of their data.

Dropbox is accused of the same charges, but also of failing to provide, "in a clear and immediately accessible manner", information on how users could get out of their contracts, including exercising the right to reconsider. The company is also be investigated for not allowing users access to out-of-court dispute settlement mechanisms, giving them an easier way to deal with complaints.

The other investigations concern some of the contractual details set out by all three companies, including their right to suspend services for users; 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; and the prevalence of the English version of the contract text over the Italian version.

None of the three companies has responded to the charges yet, but all have been contacted by TechRadar Pro for comment.

The news comes as several European nations look to crack down on the power that US technology giants hold on the continent.

Via TechCrunch

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.