In a statement to the House Judiciary Committee, EPIC told lawmakers that merger review must consider data protection and that the Federal Trade Commission must block Google’s plan to acquire Fitbit. “Far from protecting market competition and promoting innovation, the Commission is facilitating industry consolidation,” EPIC said in the statement released in advance of the hearing. EPIC pointed to the Facebook-WhatsApp deal and the failure of the FTC to protect the personal data of WhatsApp users after the merger. EPIC noted that if the FTC approves Google’s acquisition of Fitbit, it will be the 230th firm that Google/Alphabet has acquired “with barely a whimper from the Federal Trade Commission.” EPIC said: “This is not antitrust enforcement. This is agency negligence.” EPIC previously testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about mergers in the online advertising industry after EPIC warned the FTC that Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick would diminish privacy and stifle innovation. EPIC earlier opposed Doubleclick’s acquisition of Abacus, explaining that the deal would lead to increased profiling of American consumers.
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