Google’s Fitbit acquisition has come under the scanner of the United States Department of Justice. They will scrutinize the deal with the concern for the user’s health data that the watchmaker could share with the search giant.
All of Google’s alliances have been evaluated by the Federal Trade Commission, the other US agency in charge of antitrust oversight. As the Justice Department has entered the probe with includes Google as a whole, they will also take a look into the Fitbit deal.
Justice Department antitrust chief Makan Delrahim “It would be a grave mistake to believe that privacy concerns can never play a role in antitrust analysis. Without competition, a dominant firm can more easily reduce quality — such as by decreasing privacy protections — without losing a significant number of users.”
Many privacy and consumer rights groups have requested the government to prevent Google’s Fitbit acquisition. This deal, which is seen as a move to compete with Apple in the wearable market, will see Google takeover Fitbit’s data which includes its users’ health information. Buying a popular fitness tracking device gives it an even greater store of data. The Department of Justice and a group of 50 state attorneys general are currently investigating to see if the firm is involved in anti-competitive practices.
A Google spokesman said, “Similar to our other products, with wearables, we will be transparent about the data we collect and why. We will never sell personal information to anyone. Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads. And we will give Fitbit users the choice to review, move, or delete their data.”