Google and Apple are being singled out for setting fuzzy terms that, if not followed, lead to immediate termination of their relationship

Dropbox is also being accused of not correctly explaining certain contractual obligations for the use of its service

Also, it seems that the three technology companies have not done a good job translating their documents from English to the local language.

It’s hardly news anymore, or at least no surprise, to hear that a large tech company is being scrutinized for its less-than-stellar practices. This is an almost obvious outcome, considering that many of these brands have almost an oligopoly in their markets of influence. Also, the way they use user data is not to the liking of the entire customer base. Just that is the case for the new crisis of Google, Apple and Dropbox.

According to TechCrunch, a new federal investigation has just been launched against these companies’ cloud storage services. This, after several of its users claimed that the terms and conditions of these platforms are unfair and not very clear. According to protesters, Apple (through iCloud), Google (through its Drive), and Dropbox have shady practices to collect personal information from the public.

The specific case is developing in Italy. Through an official statement from the AGCM, the institution that will conduct the investigation against Google, Apple and Dropbox, it is going to investigate whether the brands have committed a crime. Several users accuse that technology companies are not clear on the terms of data collection, nor do they request adequate approval from the public to obtain their insights. This is against consumer protection rules.

Privacy: A common theme for Dropbox, Apple, Google and company

It is not the first time that an investigation has been launched against a Big Tech for an issue of inadequate data collection, or the leakage of personal profiles. Zoom, for example, experienced a privacy crisis at the very beginning of the pandemic. Like Apple, Google, and Dropbox now, TikTok would have used a prohibited data-gathering technique on Android. Even Twitter has made some dubious changes to its privacy policy during 2020.

Related Notes

We must return to the case of Apple, Google and Dropbox. Regardless of whether the allegation is true or not, it is a technicality in the privacy policy of these technologies. What is being claimed in Italy is that companies are not being clear about their policies to collect data. Or, they aren’t clearly asking people for permission to get their insights either. Does it really matter if everyone knows what they are doing, even if it is not very clear?

In fact, it is an important technicality, and not only because legally it could be enough to get them a hefty fine. Dropbox, Apple and Google should be aware of the mistrust that persists among the public regarding privacy. Having an unclear terms or conditions document does nothing more than cement your image as agents who just want to take advantage of their customers. An impression that they should clear.

How to restore consumer confidence in privacy?

Of course, it is not only the fault of Google, Apple and Dropbox that there is no public trust in Big Tech. Scandals on supposedly secure platforms, such as Siri, have contributed to creating the feeling of a system that does not work, no matter the business. To this must be added the fines and new limitations that have been placed on popular services in the market. And also the lack of cooperation of some influential agents must be counted.

The biggest question in the midst of the Google, Dropbox and Apple scandal is: What should these agents do to regain public confidence around privacy? According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the key is to establish clearer contracts and terms. According to Bloomberg, new ethical rules of use must also be created. And for PT, much of the battle must be fought by the authorities through better regulations.