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OZ Group Pushes EU To Probe Google Fitbit Take Over Deal

The proposed Google takeover of wearable group Fitbit by the big search Company, appears to be on shaky grounds with the European Union and the Australian Government now being pushed to probe the deal that is already the subject of an investigation in the USA.

Among those doing the pushing in both the US and the EU is the Australian Privacy Foundation.

Already under investigation in the USA Europeans are now concerned that the merger will allow Google to strengthen its already dominant position in digital markets, privacy and consumer groups claim.

A coalition of 20 organizations raised their concerns overnight in a statement sent to antitrust authorities in seven jurisdictions, including the U.S. and the European Union, which is set to rule on the deal later this month or extend its review.

The EU is questioning whether Google’s proposed takeover of Fitbit will harm competition, or give it access to too much personal data.

The highly popular Fitbit Company makes fitness-tracking watches that monitor the wearer’s heart rate and activity levels, it is a major brand at the likes of JB Hi Fi and The Good Guys.

The group want the Google’s takeover to be blocked.

Google said it would not use Fitbit data to target advertising and would be “transparent” about the data gathered.

It announced it was buying loss-making Fitbit for $2.1bn (£1.68bn) in November 2019.

The move would help Google expand its wearables business and offer its own-brand smart watches to rival the Apple Watch.

But some are concerned that Google already has a wealth of personal information about many people who use its products.

As part of its campaign opposing the takeover, Privacy International said: “We don’t think any company should be allowed to accumulate this much intimate information about you.”

EU regulators will decide by 20 July whether to allow the deal or launch an investigation.

They have sent detailed questionnaires to several of Google and Fitbit’s rivals, asking whether the takeover will put them at a disadvantage.

The groups joining the statement include the Omidyar Network, the Open Society European Policy Institute, Privacy International, and the Australian Privacy Foundation. They also sent the statement to regulators in the UK, Canada, Australia, Mexico, and Brazil.


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