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Parliamentary questions
PDF 54kWORD 10k
14 May 2020
P-002969/2020
Priority question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
Carmen Avram (S&D)
 Subject: Follow up to Written Questions E-000283/2020, E-000846/2020 and E-000981/2020: Google’s acquisition of Fitbit may harm consumers and hinder innovation, says EU consumer group

The data of Fitbit’s 28 million users (1) will increase Google’s powerful position in online advertising. By gathering even more sentitive personal data in the EU single market, it will cement its monopoly position and further exclude potential competitors (2) .

Critics (3) say this deal would give the US tech giant access to a trove of health data gathered by Fitbit’s fitness trackers and other devices used to monitor users’ daily steps, calories burned and distance travelled.

And: ‘If Google acquires consumers’ data generated by the use of Fitbit wearables, including now COVID-19 related data, it would be able to use that data for its own benefit and could undermine the ability of other companies to bring new products to consumers’.

In answer E-000846/2020 (4) , the Commission stated:

‘The Commission reviewed important digital mergers (e.g. Apple/Shazam , Microsoft/LinkedIn ; Google/Fitbit has not yet been notified) and is keen to learn from those and other transactions...’.

In answer E-000981/2020 (5) , the Commission stated:

‘The Commission does not have specific information about how much firms earn by selling personal data’.

1. Is the Commission now reviewing Google’s acquisition of Fitbit by assessing competition effects in the short and long term?

2. Will it ask for a detailed study providing facts and information about how much dominant platforms earn by selling personal data in the EU, and, in particular, sensitive health data?

(1)https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-000283_EN.html
(2)https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-13/google-fitbit-deal-criticized-by-consumer-group-as-concerns-grow
(3)https://www.reuters.com/article/us-fitbit-m-a-alphabet-eu-idUSKBN22P29F
(4)https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-000846-ASW_EN.html
(5)https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-000981-ASW_EN.html
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