Google announced last Friday the acquisition of popular Fitbit watch for $2.1bn, leaving several users concerned that the mammoth company will have even more data.
In this case, users are particularly concerned that Google will gain access to a user’s most personal information – that being their health. The Fitbit is used to monitor the number of steps taken each day, breathing patterns, menstrual cycles and sleep quality.
Fitbit was founded in San Francisco over a decade ago, in 2007, and is used to track users’ health. Following the backlash, Fitbit posted a blog claiming that user data will not be sold or used for Google advertising.
The company said “consumer trust is paramount to Fitbit. Strong privacy and security guidelines have been part of Fitbit’s DNA since day one, and this will not change.”
Despite the statement, social media was scattered with Fitbit users complaining of privacy issues.
The Guardian reports on the “trove of information” kept by Google on people, which include location data, search engine history and YouTube viewing history. Adverts are targeted to people based on their age, gender, location, career, relationship status, possible weight, income and hobbies.
Thanks to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), users can write to Fitbit and request their data to be deleted permanently, which the company would have to comply to. Users outside Europe can simply long onto the Fitbit website to delete their account. The company says it permanently deletes user data after an account deletion after a seven-day grace period.