Amnesty Worldwide warns towards Google-Fitbit merger until human rights are safeguarded

A Google office with logo

Amnesty Worldwide is urging the E.U. Fee to halt the a lot publicized Fitbit-Google merger until the businesses can exhibit consideration of human rights dangers related to information and surveillance, and the implementation of information safeguards. 

In November of 2019, information broke that Google was set to accumulate Fitbit for roughly $2.1 billion. Nonetheless, the merger is but to be greenlighted by the E.U. 

“The merger dangers additional extending the dominance of Google and its surveillance-based enterprise mannequin, the character and scale of which already signify a systemic risk to human rights. The deal is especially troubling given the delicate nature of the well being information that Fitbit holds that might be acquired by Google,” Eve Geddie, head of workplace and advocacy director of the European Establishments Workplace of Amnesty Worldwide, wrote within the letter.

The letter alleges that Google’s enterprise mannequin incentivizes steady information assortment from each on-line and real-world information. 

“One among our key considerations is how Google’s enterprise mannequin has enabled it to determine dominance over the first channels by which individuals join and have interaction with the net world, and entry and share info on-line, making them gatekeepers to the ‘public sq.’ for a lot of humanity. The dominance of Google (and Fb) over core platforms of the Web poses distinctive dangers for individuals’s human rights. On this context, the acquisition by Google of an organization like Fitbit, a frontrunner within the rising healthcare and wearables sector, raises pink flags,” the letter learn. 

WHY IT MATTERS 

If the acquisition goes by this can open up the world of wearables and health trackers to Google. It could additionally imply a brand new foothold within the consumer-device house. 

Whereas shopper wearables could be a brand new area for Google, a number of of the opposite tech giants, together with Apple and Amazon, have launched wearables. 

THE LARGER TREND 

After the merger was introduced in 2019, a slew of considerations emerged from authorities companies and the general public. In February, the European Knowledge Shield Board (EDPB) ordered Google to conduct an evaluation of information safety necessities and the implications of the deal. This was adopted by an in-depth investigation into the merger by EU Fee in August

In September, Reuters reported that Google was set to win EU antitrust approval after the tech large provided new concessions. Nonetheless, the deadline for an EU choice concerning the merger is now January 8, 2021. 

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