Google & Fitbit Deal Should Be Blocked State Groups With Flimsy Reasoning
Google's obsession with healthcare is reflected in the company's search engine algorithm upgrades. Health-related websites are frequently targetted for posting inaccurate and stale content, with publishers consistently on their toes anticipating Google's changes. In another move intended to make the world a healthier place, Google announced its decision to acquire Fitbit earlier this month in a $2.1 billion deal. Now, privacy and consumer advocates believe that antitrust regulators should step in and stop the deal happening. Take a look below for more details.
Privacy & Consumer Advocates Want Antitrust Regulators To Stop Google's Fitbit Acquisition
In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission signed by Open Markets Institute, the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Federation of America, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center and other groups, it's claimed that Google's Fitbit acquisition will give the company unprecedented access to user data.
The basis behind the claim is Fitbit's large user base of 28 million people worldwide. Adding the data gathered from these users to Google's existing database might end up providing the company with access to a disproportionate amount of consumer data. The claims, might we say, rest on shallow grounds.
While its Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) acquisition will provide Google access to a lot of data, this access is unlikely to harm the competition or consumers. Antitrust investigations generally concern themselves with whether a new entity formed due to a merger or an acquisition is large enough to either stifle out the competition in the market or harm consumers by raising prices or reducing product quality. Google's Fitbit acquisition doesn't check any of these boxes especially since the latter only controls 10% of the global smartwatch market.
According to the letter:
Through its vast portfolio of internet services, Google knows more about us than any other company, and it should not be allowed to add yet another way to track our every move.
Google's push into health care also came to light recently when it was revealed that the company had partnered up with Ascension to gain access to health-related data covering hospitalization records and the complete history of hundreds of millions of patients spread across 22 states. This data was accessed without user consent, but the access is legal since hospitals are allowed to provide companies with such data if the companies use it for health-related functions.
What functions Google performs or will perform with the data are unknown as of now.
Thoughts? Let us know what you think in the comments section below and stay tuned. We'll keep you updated on the latest.