Advocacy Groups Show Concerns on Google’s Acquisition of Fitbit

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On Wednesday, a group of twenty advocacies from the U.S., Latin America, Europe, and a few other countries signed a statement to urge regulators on Google’s $2.1 billion bid for acquiring Fitbit, a fitness tracker company, due to competition and privacy concerns.

The 20 organizations have argued that the deal would expand the clout in digital markets of Alphabet-owned Google which is already considerable. Some of the organizations include the U.S.-based Public Citizen, the Brazilian Institute of Consumer Defense, and Access Now from Europe.

According to them, after Google’s acquisition with Fitbit, the company will receive an enormous amount of intimate information about users. For instance, how many steps they take daily, their heart rates, and the quality of their sleep.

The groups said “Experience shows that regulators must be very wary of any promises made by merging parties about restricting the use of the acquisition target’s data. Regulators must assume that Google will in practice utilize the entirety of Fitbit’s currently independent unique, highly sensitive data set in combination with its own.”

Google’s spokeswoman said that the tech wearable space was crowded. “This deal is about devices, not data,” she said. “We believe the combination of Google’s and Fitbit’s hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector.”

The deal was announced in November to take on competitors for smartwatches and fitness trackers in the crowded market. The market share of Fitbit was threatened due to the increasing competition from deep-pocketed companies including Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc.

Canadian and Australian groups were among the signatories. This month, Australia’s authority said that it may have concerns about the deal. They further said the final decision will be made in August. Also, the antitrust regulators of the EU will decide to clear the deal with or without concessions by July 20.

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