The U.S. Justice Department will review Google LLC's planned $2.1 billion acquisition of wearable device company Fitbit Inc. over potential data privacy concerns, The New York Post reported, citing sources.
The Justice Department reportedly gained jurisdiction over the probe after a brief tussle with the Federal Trade Commission, which has historically reviewed Google-related cases
The agencies are reportedly concerned that a Google-owned Fitbit would give the search engine company a "window into people's private data, including sensitive health information." The Alphabet Inc. unit agreed to buy Fitbit for $7.35 per share in cash, in a deal that values the company at approximately $2.1 billion.
In a blog post confirming the deal in November, Rick Osterloh, Google's senior vice president of devices and services, said the company would not sell users' personal information to anyone, and Fitbit's health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads. Fitbit also stressed that its commitment to consumer privacy remains unchanged, and data from its devices would not be used for Google ads.
The Justice Department is also investigating Google for broader anti-competitive issues. Fifty state attorneys general also are investigating alleged monopolistic behavior by Google in the online advertising marketplace.