The Google acquisition of wearable company Fitbit hasn’t been finalized yet despite their initial announcement last November and having a proper bid in place. But already, advocacy groups are expressing concern that this would be a significant move for Google towards edging out their competitors, leading to various antitrust issues and other possible competition problems. The statement called “Consumer and Citizen Groups Have Serious Concerns About Google Fitbit Takeover” was signed by twenty advocacy groups from the US and Europe.

The statement from the groups emphasizes that wearables are the future in terms of data collection and could even replace smartphones as the main gateway to the Internet. It will give companies details of everything that a consumer does with their devices. Even now, it is being used for important things like contact tracing and giving medical professionals access to the health information of a patient.

Google going into the wearables industry and acquiring Fitbit is a sign of them edging out their competitors in the wearables market. The statement also mentioned that previous merger decisions have actually contributed to the rise of tech giants like Google and so now is the time to exercise “more costly and lengthy ex-post antitrust enforcement proceedings” as well as enforcing other stringent competition interventions.

For its part, Google has been clear from the start that they are acquiring Fitbit to get their hardware expertise and resources. They also guaranteed users that they will be transparent when it comes to what kind of data they will be collecting and why they will be doing so. Fitbit also stated that they will still be platform agnostic so iOS users should not be worried that their devices will stop working once the acquisition is finalized.

As for when it will be finalized and if this statement from advocacy groups will be taken into consideration, that is still something we don’t know. Those who signed the statement are the following groups:

Statement Signatory Organizations:
• Access Now – EU
• Australian Privacy Foundation – Australia
• BEUC – The European Consumer Organization – EU
• Center for Digital Democracy – US
• Centre for Responsible Technology – Australia
• Color of Change – US
• Consumer Federation of America – US
• Derechos Digitales – Latin America
• EDRi (European Digital Rights) – EU
• Idec – Brazilian Institute of Consumer Defense – Brazil
• New America’s Open Technology Institute – US
• Omidyar Network – US
• Open Markets Institute – US
• Open Society European Policy Institute – EU
• Privacy International (PI) – Global
• Public Citizen – US
• Public Interest Advocacy Centre – Canada
• Public Knowledge – US
• Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales
(R3D) – Mexico
• Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue – EU-US