Fitbit and Google deal under scrutiny by Justice Department

Fitbit could be in big trouble if this doesn't happen
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The last thing that Fitbit needs is for its Google buyout not to happen – but that’s exactly what could happen after it was revealed that the US Justice Department is investigating the sale.

It seems there’s plenty of pressure out there to get the $2.1bn deal called off, and that’s resulted in extra scrutiny from the Justice Department, which could block the deal.

According to the New York Post, the it's taken the investigation from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) because Google’s data dealings are already part of a larger anti-trust case.

The issue is that Google taking on the health data of millions of people isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

The difference between Google and other companies is that it deals in the data of people. All these free services we know and love feed its colossal data empire – which is then used to target us with ads, recommendations and the like. And people are worried that health data will feed into this.

Fitbit and Google pre-empted this by ruling out the use of people’s health data in targeted advertising.

“Consumer trust is paramount to Fitbit. Strong privacy and security guidelines have been part of Fitbit’s DNA since day one, and this will not change. Fitbit will continue to put users in control of their data and will remain transparent about the data it collects and why.

“The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads,” said the company’s official statement when the deal was announced.

However, privacy advocacy groups like Watchdog groups like Public Citizen and the Center for Digital Democracy aren’t taking their word for it – and neither is the US government.

So what’s next?

Well, the deal is likely to be delayed as this aspect is investigated. And the FTC is already looking into the anti-trust issues that could arise from having two companies (Google and Apple) controlling the wearable tech market.

But if the deal was to be blocked – that would be seriously bad news for Fitbit.

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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