Google-Fitbit deal creates rift among foreign regulators

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Google’s proposed acquisition of health wearables company Fitbit is getting a mixed reception from overseas regulators.

The Europe Commission’s antitrust enforcer approved the deal last week after Google said it would not use any data collected from the fitness trackers for targeted advertising for at least 10 years.

However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) declined to approve the deal Monday, saying it will continue its investigation and make a final decision by late March.

“While we are aware that the European Commission recently accepted a similar undertaking from Google, we are not satisfied that a long term behavioural undertaking of this type in such a complex and dynamic industry could be effectively monitored and enforced in Australia,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

A Google spokesperson told The Hill that while the company is “disappointed” by the delay, it “will continue to engage with the ACCC to answer their questions.”

“We have been working constructively with regulators around the world to close the acquisition of Fitbit and to start building new helpful devices for users,” the spokesperson added.

On the domestic front, Democratic lawmakers in Congress have called on the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to conduct a thorough investigation of the potential acquisition.

The proposed deal set off alarm bells for privacy advocates and antitrust hawks when announced late last year since it would give Google a new presence in the wearables market and provide the search giant with access to a massive trove of health data.

Tags Australia European Commission Fitbit FTC Google health data Justice Department Privacy regulators

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