Google is facing another scrutiny by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) amid data privacy fears. This is coming after its $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit.
The controversial merger in recent days was cleared for review by the DOJ after federal law enforcement tussled with the Federal Trade Commission, which had also sought authority to investigate the deal.
Recall that Google has been under antitrust investigations by the United States Government because of its high dominance in the ad market and in the use of consumer data.
Since the announcement of the deal by Google, both the federal law enforcement and FTC have been concerned about the privacy of the users’ data as they pointed out that the deal would bring about a bigger platform for Google to disclose users privacy data and other sensitive information to the public.
Meanwhile, the U.S President, Donald Trump has criticized Google for alleged anti-conservative bias. This is because of the company’s action early this month. The search engine giant had taken down more than 300 ads from Trump’s re-election campaign for violating the search engine’s advertising policies.
In November, New York Post reported that Public Citizen and the Center for Digital Democracy urged the FTC, thinking it would get the case, to block the merger, arguing it would give Google the chance to collect more personal data including sensitive health information.
“Through its vast portfolio of internet services, Google knows more about us than any other company and it should not be allowed to add yet another way to track our every move,” the groups said in a letter to the FTC.
Fitbit had been said to be constantly upgrading its smartwatch features in line with the demands of the market. Therefore this deal would help Google add to its portfolio an overall strengthened hardware strategy in terms of the smartwatch features.