Google completes Fitbit acquisition, promises data privacy

New Delhi: After facing initial scrutiny over user data privacy, wearable maker Fitbit has finally become part of Google which bought it for $2.1 billion in November 2019.

Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park said that the trust of Fitbit users will continue to be paramount, and they will maintain strong data privacy and security protections.

The European Commission in August last year opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Fitbit by Google under the EU Merger Regulation.

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The regulator was concerned that the proposed transaction would further entrench Google’s market position in the online advertising markets by increasing the already vast amount of data that Google could use for personalisation of the ads it serves and displays.

Park said in a statement on Thursday that Fitbit will give you control of your data and will stay transparent about what it collects and why.

“Google will continue to protect Fitbit users’ privacy and has made a series of binding commitments with global regulators, confirming that Fitbit users’ health and wellness data won’t be used for Google ads and this data will be kept separate from other Google ad data,” Park clarified.

Google also affirmed it will continue to allow Fitbit users to choose to connect to third party services, saying the Fitbit deal has always been about devices, not data.

“We’ve been clear since the beginning that we will protect Fitbit users’ privacy. We worked with global regulators on an approach which safeguards consumers’ privacy expectations,” said Rick Osterloh
Senior Vice President, Devices & Services at Google.

“We’ll also maintain access to Android APIs that enable devices like fitness trackers and smart watches to interoperate with Android smartphones, and we’ll continue to allow Fitbit users to choose to connect to third-party services so you’ll still be able to sync your favourite health and fitness apps to your Fitbit account,” he elaborated.

Fitbit has sold more than 120 million devices in over 100 countries. It has built a vibrant community of more than 29 million active users.

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