Fitbit takeover by Google worries consumer protection

Fitbit watches record a great deal of data about the fitness and position of their users. That could play into Google’s advertising business in the hands of the billion-dollar takeover.

The planned acquisition of the fitness watch manufacturer Fitbit by the online giant Google worries consumers and data protection worldwide. For example, Google could evaluate Fitbit’s valuable health and position data in order to strengthen its already dominant position in the market for online advertising, warned 20 organizations in a joint statement.

Antitrust, regulatory and data protection authorities worldwide should pay the utmost attention to this, among others, the European consumer association Beuc, the US consumer association and the data protection organization European Digital Rights demanded.

Two billion dollars

Google announced plans to acquire Fitbit for over $ 2 billion in early November last year. It said that data from the fitness specialist should not be used for personalized advertising.

Earlier this year, European data protection officials warned that another pool of user information in the hands of a large tech company was a risk to privacy.

The EU Commission’s competition authorities signaled, according to a report by the “Financial Times”, that they want to examine the planned takeover more closely. Accordingly, the Brussels authorities sent questionnaires to the rivals of Google and Fitbit, asking, among other things, whether the takeover would destroy the competition and whether this would result in data that the company could use to improve its advertising business. A spokeswoman for the EU Commission did not want to comment on the report on request.