Google’s Fitbit Takeover Under Investigation Due to Privacy Fears

Google announced last month that it reached an agreement to take over wearable device manufacturer Fitbit for $2.1 billion, but the privacy implications of the deal don’t sit well with the United States authorities.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) have already expressed concerns regarding the purchase of Fitbit, which they believe could provide the Mountain View-based search giant with access to a large set of customer data.

The DOJ will thus look into the matter, according to a report from the New York Post citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Google originally said in an announcement on the $2.1 billion deal that Fitbit data wouldn’t be used for ads.

“Fitbit will continue to put users in control of their data and will remain transparent about the data it collects and why. The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads,” the press release read.

Request to block the deal

But a group of privacy advocates required the FTC in a letter sent in November to block the Google – Fitbit deal due to the monopoly that the search giant would “further consolidate over Internet-based services.”

“Much like Google’s Android acquisition allowed it to extend its desktop search monopoly to mobile devices, so too would an acquisition of Fitbit allow Google to extend its search monopoly to wearable devices. Google’s goal is to be a ubiquitous gatekeeper that forecloses competitive threats to any of the markets it monopolizes. Google has eight business lines with over a billion users each, and this acquisition would fortify Google’s monopoly power by dominating yet another portal to the consumer,” the letter reads.

Neither Google nor Fitbit responded to these reports, but the two originally announced that the takeover was expected to close in 2020.

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