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UK cloud storage providers told to smarten up their Ts&Cs

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via Flickr © StockMonkeys.com (CC BY 2.0)

  • Ts&Cs being unfairly applied in cloud storage market
  • Telcos and other providers told they could be in breach of UK consumer law

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has quite rightly fired a volley of shots across the bows of UK cloud storage providers who it says are acting unfairly in their dealings with UK consumers and could well be in breach of the UK’s recently tightened consumer protection law.

The companies have been told to smarten up and ‘work with’ (love that phrase) the CMA to detoxify their terms, conditions and (often) their behaviour when it comes to cloud storage and data ownership

This ‘whose data is it anyway?’ issue has been gathering strength for a couple of years now, ever since Facebook tried its ‘we own everything’ terms and conditions change.

The CMA says it’s conducted a consumer law review of the sector in response to complaints that cloud storage providers - including mobile operators - have been abruptly changing their service terms without reason and, sometimes, without notice; withdrawing service suddenly, and automatically renewing contracts without asking. These practices could be in breach of UK consumer law,

It points out that around 30 per cent of British adults currently use these services in a personal capacity and have come to rely on the facilities to store data such as music, films, photographs and even important correspondence and documents.

The CMA says Dixons Carphone, JustCloud and Livedrive have come along quietly and agreed to provide fairer terms: it expects the rest to follow suit.

In general, the ‘who owns the data anyway?’ question is currently not being asked frequently enough, especially in relation to emerging IoT services and devices. But it’s an issue that might rise up  to bite those companies quietly building business models involving private data - the car insurance industry with its driving monitoring software springs to mind.

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