The European Union’s (EU’s) privacy body has voiced skepticism over the acquisition of Fitbit by Google, saying it could lead to privacy risks, Reuters reported. The deal was announced last November, with Google angling to compete with rivals Apple and Samsung in terms of a crowded market of fitness trackers and smartwatches.
According to the EU, among others, the merger has the potential to endanger people’s privacy. The consumption of Fitbit by Google would give the Big Tech firm access to a wide range of health documents, with the EU saying that this acquisition could lead to a “high level of risk” for European people’s sensitive information.
European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager will vet the deal. In November, she voiced concern over the merger, and about Big Tech firms targeting rivals that amass troves of such data from users.
The EU hopes that Google would exercise the proper level of restraint and precaution in terms of data, and assess data privacy requirements — as well as mitigate any possible privacy and data risks — before going forward for an antitrust approval with the EU. Google said it would never sell people’s personal information, and would not use data from Fitbit to sell ads. Fitbit users would also have the option to review and delete their data if they chose to do so.
Google said it would make sure to work with regulators on any potential concerns.
The acquisition bid for Fitbit has been a contentious one for Google thus far, as it has battled numerous instances of red tape and regulatory concerns from multiple parties. The acquisition is worth $2.1 billion for Google, and the entrance into the health market for parent company Alphabet has seemed worth the cost.
However, both the Department of Justice and the EU have been looking into the antitrust concerns.