Worried about Google owning your Fitbit data? The EU is too
Google’s planned acquisition of Fitbit came as somewhat of a blow to existing users worried all of their movement and health data would fall into the hands of the Alphabet empire.
Now it’s evident that Fitbit users aren’t the only ones with deep concerns over the planned deal, announced last winter, which has yet to be rubber-stamped by regulators around the world.
The EU is now investigating the deal over concerns it would be used to improve Google’s ability to profile and target users with advertisements in Google search. Regulators have now sent a pair of extensive questionnaires to current rivals of both Google and Fitbit in an effort to discern whether the merger will harm competition in the region.
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The FT reports “the questionnaires also ask rivals to assess the impact of the deal on Google’s growing digital healthcare business.” The information will be used to determine whether the EU will give its blessing to the deal, or launch a full investigation into whether to seek to block it.
The EU isn’t the body with concerns over the deal. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is also worried Google’s unassailable position in the market could be further boosted.
“Past acquisitions by Google, of both start-ups and mature companies like Fitbit, have further entrenched Google’s position,” said Rod Sims of the Aussie watchdog in June. “The access to user data available to Google has made it so valuable to advertisers that it faces only limited competition.”
For its part, Google has continued to assure concerned parties, it will be transparent about the way it collects data and has promised it will not use Fitbit data to inform personalised targeted ads.
The company said: “Throughout this process we have been clear about our commitment not to use Fitbit health and wellness data for Google ads and our responsibility to provide people with choice and control with their data.
“Similar to our other products, with wearables, we will be transparent about the data we collect and why. And we do not sell personal information to anyone.”