The Google/Fitbit merger - NOT ON OUR WATCH!
Google wants to know everything about you. It already holds a massive trove of data about you, but it now also wants to get its hands on your health data too. We don’t think any company should be allowed to accumulate this much intimate information about us. This is why we’re trying to stop its merger with Fitbit and saying ’NOT ON OUR WATCH’!
How much does Google know about you? Or maybe let's ask a different question - what DOESN'T Google know about you? Through your searches on Google (and YouTube of course), it knows your interests and random musings - which means it knows what you’re thinking. And through Google Maps it may know where you are at all times. By acquiring Fitbit, it now wants your health data too. This would be game-changing, and have profound consequences for all of us. This is why we’re saying ’NOT ON OUR WATCH!'
Google has a long track record of competition law infringements in the EU, including violations of competition on the search market, on Google Play Store and Android and on the market for online advertising intermediation. The company is also currently under investigation in the United States.
Fitbit is a company that produces and sells health tracking technologies and wearables including smartwatches, health trackers, smart scales and other health tracking services including via mobile. A big part of Fitbit’s value is said to lie in the quality of the health data it possesses. The company’s technologies can track individuals’ daily steps, distance walked or traveled, calories burned, sleep patterns and heart rate. In the recent past, Fitbit has increased its health-related database and health tracking capabilities by acquiring a number of other actors on the health tracking and wearables market, including FitStar, Pebble, Vector and Twine Health. Some of these acquisitions include partnerships with health insurers as part of efforts to diversify its revenue stream.
The merger between Google and Fitbit would effectively allow Google to establish itself as an even stronger player in the markets for health data-related services including health tracking devices. Most significantly perhaps, the merger could potentially allow Google to enrich any large datasets and detailed consumer profiles it may hold with sophisticated real time data about individuals’ health conditions and needs, as well as general information about their daily behaviour and bodily rhythms. Anything Google is planning to do with Fitbit’s data is concerning to us.