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Apple iCloud violates Norwegian and European law

Apple gives itself the right to change the iCloud terms and conditions at any time. The users are left without legal rights, according to the Norwegian Consumer Council, which today has lodged a complaint with the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman.

Publisert 13.05.2014

The Consumer Council published a study earlier this year about terms of services in online storage services. The study shows that the contracts do not adequately protect consumer rights and privacy.

myrstad_finn_tvFoto: Kjell Håkon Larsen
"Apple offers to store valuable information on behalf of its users, but gives itself the right to amend the agreement at its sole discretion. As consumers, we are left with no real rights or security,” says Finn Myrstad, head of digital services unit.

The Norwegian Consumer Council has now lodged a complaint about Apple’s terms with the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman for violating several articles of Norwegian law.

Unilateral terms

Apple’s terms do not promise to notify users about changes in the terms which are effectively contracts under law. Therefore, substantial changes can be made to the agreement without the users’ knowledge.

“Receiving notice when terms change should be a bare minimum requirement. The fact that this can be done without informing the users is unacceptable,” says Finn Myrstad.

iCloud’s terms and conditions consist of more than 8600 words, which are convoluted and unclear.

Myrstad adds that people often store important information in the cloud, such as documents and photos. This makes it particularly important that consumers easily understand the content of the contract.

Terms

* Dropbox only gives notice "if the revision, in [their] sole discretion, is material"
** The service's terms are unclear

Consumer rights

In a survey performed on behalf of the Norwegian Consumer Council, 4 of 10 Norwegians state that they use cloud storage services, an increase from 3 of 10 in 2012.

"Cloud storage services rely on users' trust and confidence. However, the current terms undermine this. It is important that consumer rights and privacy also apply to online services. We are convinced that all parties are better served with more user friendly terms", Myrstad said.

“We hope that the Ombudsman will use its mandate to address the issue of digital consumer rights, and that the European Commission Expert Group on Cloud Service Contracts will take our views into consideration when coming with their recommendations in a few months”.

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For additional comments or information, contact Finn Myrstad on:
+47 479 66 900 or by email finn.myrstad@forbrukerradet.no

Free to use press photos can be downloaded here: http://www.forbrukerradet.no/forside/presse/pressebilder?arkiv=1146164

Publisert 13.05.2014