Privacy Groups Concern: How Google could Use the data gathered by Fitbit?

Advocacy groups warn against Google and Fitbit takeover
Advocacy groups warn against Google and Fitbit takeover

Fitbit and Google announced the $2.1 billion deal last year for the effort to sustain its business in wearable technology, like smartwatches and other devices. Advocacy groups warn against Google’s $2.1B Fitbit takeover.

Fitbit and Google deal

Google last year announced the $2.1 billion deal with Fitbit as an attempt to bolster its business in wearable technology, like smartwatches and other devices. Deal Unveiled in November and rang alarms among global regulators over antitrust and privacy worries.

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It is a pioneer in the market for connected watches and other physical activity sensors that measure the number of daily steps taken, calories burned or hours of sleep missed.

Consumer groups urge scrutiny

The takeover of fitness tracker Fitbit Inc by Alphabet Inc’s Google should get scrutiny from global regulators because it would allow Google to strengthen its already dominant position in digital markets, privacy, and consumer groups said. A group of 20 consumer organizations on Wednesday evening said it’s sending a letter to antitrust regulators around the world, highlighting concerns over Google’s proposed acquisition of the fitness tracker.

The letter is being sent to authorities in seven different jurisdictions: the US, UK, European Union, Canada, Australia, Mexico and Brazil. In the US, it’s going to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. In the EU, the letter is being sent to the office of competition commission Margrethe Vestager. EU regulators have until July 20 to decide whether to clear the acquisition.

The joint statement says: “Consumer and citizen groups have significant concerns that Google’s proposed takeover of wearables manufacturer Fitbit would be a game-changer not only for how people interact with the online world but also for digital and related health markets. The groups’ main concern is how Google could use data gathered by Fitbit devices to leverage its advertising business. For more Technology news click here.

“Google could exploit Fitbit’s precious health and location datasets, and data collection capabilities, to strengthen its already dominant position in digital markets such as online advertising,” they warn.

Google said in response this week: “This deal is about devices, not data. We believe the combination of Google’s and Fitbit’s hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector.”

The search giant is under examination by the Justice Department, as well as a confederacy of state attorneys general probing the company’s dominance in online advertising.