Google’s $2.1 billion bid for fitness trackers company Fitbit could pose privacy risks, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) warned on Thursday.
Google announced the deal in November last year, as it seeks to compete with Apple and Samsung in the crowded market for fitness trackers and smart watches.
Fitbit's fitness trackers and other devices monitor users’ daily steps, calories burned and distance travelled. With the acquisition, Google gets access to a trove of health data gathered from Fitbit devices.
"..the possible further combination and accumulation of sensitive personal data regarding people in Europe by a major tech company could entail a high level of risk to privacy and data protection," EDPB said.
The EDPB reminded the parties to the proposed merger of their obligations under the GDPR and underlined the need "to conduct a full assessment of the data protection requirements and privacy implications of the merger in a transparent way. "
The Board urged the parties "to mitigate possible risks to the rights to privacy and data protection before notifying the merger to the European Commission."
The EDPB will consider any implications for the protection of personal data in the EEA and stands ready to contribute its advice to the EC if so requested.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who will vet the deal, in November voiced her concerns about big companies targeting data-heavy rivals.