NGOs warn against Google’s acquisition of FitBit

20 global non-governmental organizations and consumer groups signed an open letter warning against Google’s takeover of FitBit, a company specialising in the production of devices for monitoring user activity, and appealed to lawmakers to monitor the merger.

Consumer groups and civil society organizations from around the world, signed under an open letter, expressed their doubts about the planned transaction. According to them, the acquisition of FitBit by Google would strengthen the dominant position of the American group on the market and limit the possibilities of competing companies. In addition, in their opinion, the company would receive too much access to user data, including health information, which could potentially hit, for example, other companies operating on the health products market.

“Organizations fighting for consumer rights and civic groups have come together to express their deep concern about Google’s plans to take over FitBit and the risks this decision poses to consumers. We are afraid that by gaining access to extremely valuable data collected by the software FitBit, Google will further strengthen its dominant position in digital markets, especially in the online advertising sector and among health care companies. This will not only suppress competition in this industry but may negatively affect consumer welfare, limit innovation and increase prices “- she wrote in a statement by Monique Goyens, general director of the EU consumer organization BEUC.

The organizations also appealed to the authorities, especially competition and market offices, to closely supervise the merger and monitor whether the acquisition of FitBit does not violate antitrust laws.

“Strict transaction control is a test for those in power who will be able to limit the market position of technology giants in the digital economy. The authorities must ensure that the interests of a narrow group do not prove more important than the good of the general consumer” – added the head of BEUC.

Last November, Google announced that it plans to buy FitBit for $ 2.1 billion, specialising in the production of smartwatches and wristbands that monitor user activity. By acquiring the company, Google wants to compete, among others with Apple and Samsung, which offer similar devices.

The FitBit acquisition is also being investigated by the US Department of Justice and the European Commission, which is due to issue an opinion in July.