Consumer groups rap Google’s Fitbit deal


  • Google
  • Thursday, 02 Jul 2020

Fitbit is a pioneer in the market for connected watches and other physical activity sensors that measure the number of daily steps taken, calories burned or hours of sleep. Google’s US$2.1bil (RM8.99bil) acquisition of the maker of smartwatches and fitness trackers was unveiled in November and rang alarm bells among global regulators over antitrust and privacy worries. — Reuters

BRUSSELS: An international group of consumer groups and NGOs denounced Google’s bid for sports smartwatch-maker Fitbit on July 2, saying it would threaten privacy and grant the search giant unfair access to a new market.

Google’s US$2.1bil (RM8.99bil) acquisition of the maker of smartwatches and fitness trackers was unveiled in November and rang alarm bells among global regulators over antitrust and privacy worries.

Fitbit is a pioneer in the market for connected watches and other physical activity sensors that measure the number of daily steps taken, calories burned or hours of sleep.

A group of 20 NGOs “have significant concerns” that the takeover “would be a game-changer not only for how people interact with the online world but also for digital and related health markets”, a statement said.

“Regulators around the world... must therefore give it their utmost attention,” they said, calling it a “test case” on facing down big tech firms.

The groups include BEUC, which unites EU consumer advocates, as well as the Consumer Federation of America in the US and digital rights groups in Mexico, Brazil and Australia.

EU antiturst regulators, who are to decide on the transaction by July 20, are especially concerned with Silicon Valley giants buying their way into new areas and then stifling competition.

“Wearable devices could replace smartphones as the main gateway to the Internet, just as smartphones replaced personal computers,” the NGOs said a statement.

“Google’s expansion into this market, edging out other competitors would thus be significant,” they added.

A Google spokesman rejected the claims.

“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,” the spokesman said.

“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.”

In February, the European Data Protection Board urged Google to make major assurances on privacy and data before it approved the buyout.

Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission last month raised concerns that the transaction could “further entrench” Google’s dominance and “adversely affect competition in several digital advertising and health markets”. – AFP

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Fitbit

   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

67% readers found this article insightful

Next In Tech News

SAP, promising transformation, kicks off cloud computing push
Chinese smartphone brands expanded India market share in 2020 - report
Google to stop using Apple tool to track iPhone users, avoiding new pop-up warning
Google opens Dublin hub to tackle harmful online content
Police dismantle world's 'most dangerous' criminal hacking network
CIMB says instant funds transfers on banking website temporarily disabled
Facebook investors, shrugging off election woes, look for 'social commerce' payday
Wall Street expects near-record iPhone sales despite delay, shut Apple stores
AT&T is sued for $1.35 billion over technology to synchronize smart devices
Honor launches View40 smartphone in China, plus a refreshed laptop lineup

Stories You'll Enjoy


-->