The Google Fitbit deal: users’ privacy at risk

Google made headlines recently by stating their intention to purchase Fitbit for the staggering sum of $2.1 billion, and this generated mixed feelings among fans of Fitbit.

On November 17, reports revealed that some users of Fitbit gadgets began looking for alternative smartwatches as soon as they learned the news.

Concerns

The main concern among users is their privacy: many people switched to the Apple Watch, as they saw it as a safer alternative than their Fitbit, even though Google highlighted the fact that they are not going to sell people’s personal or health information.

Senior Vice President Rick Osterloh said that the deal’s main effect would be a notable advance of the firm towards Wear OS.

However, security expert Tanya Janca tweeted:

“Dear @fitbit, I do not want my data that I consented to you collecting transferring to Google. With news of the acquisition of your company I intend to sell my Fitbit and delete my account. How do I ensure that none of the data I allowed you to collect ends up in their hands?”

Is Google trustworthy?

After a quick analysis of Google’s past experiences with personal data, there’s a very good reason to be concerned. Data that was collected from health-related Googling combined with vital information from Fitbit watches would boost Google’s devices and algorithms way ahead of any competitor and make them an ultimate power in the field.

Google agreed to thoroughly follow the relevant privacy related laws, which are extremely stringent in Europe thanks to the update to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Unfortunately, the United States are still lagging behind when it comes to people’s privacy.

Therefore, present and future Fitbit users are unofficially agreeing to take a risk if they don’t want to switch brands, and this will surely affect Fitbit’s image over time (hopefully not enough to see it go extinct).

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