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Privacy, consumer groups urge FTC to block Google-Fitbit deal, citing privacy and competition concerns

We missed this earlier A coalition of privacy, consumer and social justice groups has asked the United States government to block Google’s acquisition of Fitbit, citing antitrust and privacy concerns. In a letter to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on November 13, the groups wrote that Fitbit would help Google to increase its dominance over internet searches, and give it another way to gather health information. MediaNama has reached out to Google for comment. The groups said that the acquisition should not be permitted because "Google already holds a dominant position in the digital marketplace, health data is critical to the future of that marketplace, and the data protection concerns stemming from the acquisition will have far-reaching consequences including a dramatic erosion of consumer privacy." Watchdog groups such as Public Citizen, Centre for Digital Democracy, and Consumer Federation of America, were among the nine organisations that wrote to the FTC. The groups raised the following concerns: Google's previous acquisitions: Google’s 2008 acquisition of Doubleclick also deserves close scrutiny, because Google had failed to uphold representations that it had made to the Commission regarding the personal data gathered by DoubleClick. They further noted that Google has acquired more than 200 firms, many of which implicate personal privacy, and those deals should also be re-examined. Dissemination of health care data: Google should not gain control of Fitbit’s sensitive and individualised health data, which can be integrated with data from its current services to deepen its own monopoly.  Google has assured transparency…

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