Fitbit users will join Google in 2023 • The Register

As part of the Fitbit acquisition, Google will require customers to use Google accounts to manage their fitness tracking devices, reigniting privacy concerns surrounding the 2019 acquisition.

Beginning now, Fitbit device owners maintain a separate online account, not connected to Google, unless users have given third-party app permissions to link Fitbit data to Google’s own apps or log in to their Gmail account to register. That should change “sometime in 2023,” Fitbit said. announce the move as a good thing for its users.

“A single sign-in for Fitbit and other Google services, industry-leading account security, centralized privacy controls for Fitbit user data, and more” were cited by the Google subsidiary as reasons its customers appreciate the change.

Not all Fitbit users will need to sign up with a Google account right away in 2023. When the transition occurs next year, new Fitbit users signing up for an account will need to sign in with a Google Account linked to Fitbit, as will existing customers upgrading to a new Fitbit device or new ones want to enable features.

Those unaffected by this change can keep their FitBit accounts for a few more years.

“Fitbit account support will continue through at least early 2025. After Fitbit account support ends, a Google account will be required to use Fitbit,” the company said.

What is the real privacy story?

From its CEO Fitbit repeated several times what Google had done binding commitments to the European Commission (EC) in 2020 as a condition for acquiring Fitbit.

Among other things, Google has agreed to keep Fitbit user data off its systems and not to use that data for targeted advertising to Fitbit customers in the European Economic Area (EEA) for a period of 10 years.

“This deal has always been about devices, not data, and we knew from the start that we’re going to protect the privacy of Fitbit users,” said Rick Osterloh, SVP of Products and Services at Google. said when the acquisition was completed in early 2021.

Osterloh said Google has “made a set of binding commitments confirming that Fitbit users’ health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads and that this data will be separated from other Google ad data,” but in all statements by both companies do not address the fact that the binding agreement reached with the EC concerns only the EEA.

Google has failed to deliver on promises to give users control over their data, most recently when it did seen collecting call and SMS data sent via standard Android apps. Concerns like these probably prompted 20 consumer rights groups to publish An open letter to regulators around the world, urging a close scrutiny of Google’s Fitbit purchase.

We reached out to Google for more details on their data plan and asked if their EC agreement would apply to customers in the rest of the world, but we haven’t received a response yet.

Sports watch users who are considering another fitness tracker and have concerns about signing up may want to avoid this Samsung, to. ® Fitbit users will join Google in 2023 • The Register

Laura Coffey

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