Health tracker Fitbit hires lobbying muscle

The health-tracking device company Fitbit has hired lobbying muscle as it faces questions from Capitol Hill about its privacy protections.

The company, whose wristband devices have become ubiquitous in some circles, brought on K Street heavyweight Heather Podesta + Partners to “educate lawmakers regarding health and fitness devices,” according to a federal lobbying disclosure form.

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“We are constantly seeking ways to better communicate our health and fitness goals to the public,” Fitbit said in a statement shared with The Hill. “Expanding our team to ensure policymakers understand our products is a part of that ongoing effort.”

Podesta, a former Capitol Hill staffer, will be representing the company herself, according to the form, along with two other former congressional aides: Eric Rosen and Benjamin Klein.

The hire comes on the heels of concerns voiced last month by Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerGOP fundraiser enters crowded primary for Pa. Senate seat Dems: Trump risks government shutdown over border wall Miners' union shouldn't look to feds to bail out mismanaged pension fund MORE (D-N.Y.), that the detailed personal information Fibit and similar companies collect might be shared with other firms.

"Personal Fitbit bracelets and the data they collect on your health, your sleep, your location should be just that — personal — not sold to a wide variety of other users," Schumer said last month. “The kind of privacy laws that should protect us have not caught up to the new technology that helps keep us healthy.”

Fitbit hired Podesta’s firm the same day Schumer made his comments.

Since Schumer’s comments, the company has updated its privacy policy to state that it does not share data with other companies unless required by law or after identifying information has been removed. According to Fitbit, that has always been its policy, and the external notice was changed to provide clarity and was unrelated to Schumer’s remarks.

— Megan Wilson contributed.

This story was last updated at 4:57 p.m.