User data: EU opens to investigate Google’s acquisition of Fitbit

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User data: EU opens to investigate Google’s acquisition of Fitbit

The European Commission (EC) has launched a full-scale probe of a planned Google purchase of Fitbit, saying that the move raised serious concerns over control of user data.

User data: Margrethe Vestager - EU

EC Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager (Image: Europe.eu)


Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy, said:

The use of wearable devices by European consumers is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. This will go hand in hand with an exponential growth of data generated through these devices. This data provides key insights about the life and the health situation of the users of these devices. Our investigation aims to ensure that control by Google over data collected through wearable devices as a result of the transaction does not distort competition.

The EC stated it was unconvinced by a pledge Google made around protecting user data, while also expressing concerns about the potential impact on the digital healthcare sphere and whether Google could “degrade the interoperability of rivals’ wearables” with its Android OS.
It has until 9 December to make a ruling. In a blog, Google SVP of devices and services Rick Osterloh defended the $2.1 billion deal, stating it would “increase competition” in wearable hardware, noting the sector already had “vibrant competition” from companies including Apple, Samsung, Garmin and Fossil.
The acquisition is also being scrutinised by the US Department of Justice.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: Pixabay

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