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Google’s FitBit acquisition could pose ‘high risk’ to privacy: European Data Protection Board

Raising privacy concerns around Google’s acquisition of  FitBit, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), on February 20, said that “the combination and accumulation of sensitive personal data regarding people in Europe by a major tech company could entail a high level of risk to privacy and data protection”. Following the 18th EDPB plenary session, the Board said that both Google and FitBit should conduct a “full assessment of the data protection requirements and privacy implications of the merger in a transparent way”,  and mitigate any privacy risks before notifying the merger to the European Commission. We have reached out to Google for comment. Google's FitBit acquisition gives it access to health data of 28 million FitBit users: Google had announced the acquisition of wearables company FitBit for $2.1 billion in November 2019, to help invest further in Wear OS and introduce Made by Google wearables into the market. Apart from the hardware push, the acquisition will give Google access to health data of FitBit’s 28 million active users. FitBit devices track granular health data of wearers, such as steps taken, calories burned, exercises performed, sleep cycle and quality. According to a TechCrunch report, the merger has not been formally notified to the EDPB. At the time of the deal, Google had claimed that it will be transparent about what and why data will be collected, stating that “privacy and security are paramount”. It had also claimed that FitBit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads, and FitBit users will…

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