Italy launches probe into Google, Apple cloud services

Publish: 6:43 PM, September 8, 2020 | Update: 6:43:PM, September 8, 2020

MILAN, – Italy’s competition watchdog Monday said it had opened probes into tech giants Google, Apple and Dropbox for possible unfair commercial practices in their cloud computing services.

Six investigations in total have been opened against Google’s Google Drive, Apple’s iCloud and Dropbox, the Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) said.

“Proceedings relate to alleged unfair commercial practices and the possible presence of unfair clauses in contractual terms,” the AGCM said in a statement.

The probes against Google and Apple look at a “failure or inadequate indication on the collection and commercial use of data provided by the user”, the authority said.

Consumers, in order to use cloud storage services “would not be in a position to consent” to the companies using their data for commercial purposes.

Dropbox faces the same complaint, and is also being probed for allegedly failing to provide clear and immediately accessible information on the terms and conditions when wanting to withdraw from the contract or having the right to reconsider, the watchdog said.

The latest probe by the Italian watchdog comes as European countries this year imposed taxes on the so-called GAFA group — Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

Tech giants are accused of unfairly exploiting tax rules that let them declare profits in low-tax havens, depriving other governments of their share.

The US however opposes the tax plans, saying it amounts to discrimination against US firms.