The DOJ is reportedly investigating Google's acquisition of Fitbit

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

As reported by The New York Post, both agencies were concerned over the sensitive health data that Google would have access to as a result of the purchase. Privacy advocacy groups such as the Center for Digital Democracy, Public Citizen, and Consumer Action have already urged the government to block the deal for the same reasons.

“We write to urge the Federal Trade Commission to block Google’s proposed acquisition of Fitbit. If this acquisition is approved, Google will further consolidate its monopoly power over Internet-based services. It will increase its already massive store of consumer data, including highly sensitive health and location information,” the watchdogs wrote in a letter.

All large mergers must file proposals with both the FTC and DOJ, though only one agency reviews a merger. While most Google deals had been reviewed by the FTC, the DOJ’s current investigation of the company meant it was granted the Fitbit probe.

“The DOJ’s handling of Fitbit will give an early read on the Google investigation,” a DC source said.

SEC filings last month revealed that there had been a bidding war between Facebook and Google for Fitbit, with the latter winning by only a small margin. Considering the social network's notorious reputation for user privacy, it’s likely the current outcry would have been even larger had Facebook won.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
"SEC filings last month revealed that there had been a bidding war between Facebook and Google for Fitbit, with the latter winning by only a small margin. Considering the social network's notorious reputation for user privacy, it’s likely the current outcry would have been even larger had Facebook won."

So, were back to another case of "least worst". Wouldn't it be interesting if we had a process by which these companies had to make application to the DOJ & SEC before a merger took place. In order to pre-screen them and ask all these difficult questions up front. I'd like to see a 3rd board created, the FPG (For Public Good) that would have a big say in how these mergers would help the public. Imagine how THAT would affect these mergers ....