Moscow, 18 Nov — “News. Economy” After Google swallowed Fitbit, the owners of fitness trackers produced by this company has begun to decline from their devices. Many fear that the search engine, receiving data about health and physical activity, will begin to “focus” on their advertising or share information with insurers.
Last week it became known that Google bought the Fitbit Corporation, which produces fitness trackers, and other devices for health. The purchase cost, the IT giant in $2.1 billion, (at a price of $7,35 per share) and Google allegedly intends to enter the market of wearable gadgets to compete with Apple and other technology companies.
The absorption at this price capitalization Fitbit was valued at $2.1 billion In a statement, Fitbit notes that the completion of the transaction it is planned in 2020 news about absorption Fitbit appeared shortly before the opening of trading on the US stock market, at the initial stage of Friday’s session, the NASDAQ stock Fitbit rose 15% to $7,12 per share.
However, ordinary users of Fitbit, of which there are 28 million worldwide, seeing in this transaction a clear threat to their personal data, reports the Guardian. The owners of gadgets Fitbit, I’m afraid Google will have the most intimate information on their daily condition — the number of steps to breathing patterns, from sleep stages to the menstrual cycle.
Google assured that the data collected by the devices will not be used for ad targeting. Despite this, many people Express distrust of the policy of confidentiality Google, thinking about the large fines previously issued to the search engine authorities of the European Union, and are now looking for an alternative to Fitbit trackers. As the main candidate to replace users generally called the smart watch Apple Watch, reports CNBC.
“I fear that they will be able to do with the data, not only now, but in 10-20 years, with the improvement of their artificial intelligence”, — told the TV channel, the former owner of a Fitbit Charge 3 Mike carpenter. He added that he does not believe the assurances of Google, as its data is most interested in health insurance company, which would not show ads.
“I acquired it recently, and now don’t want Google literally followed my every step and beat of my heart,” said Dan Kleinman, get rid of your Fitbit Versa.
“After the news about the purchase of your company, I intend to sell my Fitbit and delete the account — said in a tweet Tani Janki, who received a few hundred likes. I like your product and I was happy for him for many years, but their privacy I appreciate much, much more. The possibility that the data will be aggregated, makes me feel very uncomfortable.”
In his official statement, manual Fitbit claims that the user health information will never be sent to Google to personalize ads: “consumer Trust is paramount for Fitbit. Strict principles of confidentiality and security was part of the DNA of Fitbit from the very first day of work, and it does not change”.
But users are not convinced, after all, Google collects a huge amount of information from their many services, and believe that he will miss a large database is very difficult.
The question of secure handling of user data is particularly relevant in connection with the recent message that Google has partnered with one of the largest health systems USA Ascension as part of the secret of the Nightingale project for the collection and analysis of personal health data of millions of Americans in 21 States.
According to the WSJ, the base includes test results, diagnosed, prescribed medications and records of hospitalization, as well as the names and dates of birth of patients. In fact, the search engine 150 working on the project employees have access to full information about people’s health.
Later information was confirmed by The New York Times, adding that there are fears that some of the employees, Google was able to partially download data of patients. Forbes writes that the base of the medical data is stored on cloud servers Google. Internal documents show that Google employees have access to information about patients, including some employees of Google Brain, research division, who is credited with the largest achievements of the company.
Data from medical records for Project Nightingale, the search engine receives by partnering with a major medical company Ascension working in 21 States and the capital, Washington. According to sources, Google is developing a service that with the help of artificial intelligence technologies and machine learning could recommend patients with personalized treatment.
Ascension is aimed not only at improving patient care, but hopes to obtain data that will indicate the need for extra procedures for patients. Ascension is also committed to a system that would work faster than the existing decentralized electronic records.
Google (and other IT-giants like Amazon and Apple) for several years, looking for ways to get out on the extremely profitable American health care market. Last year the company hired a top Manager with experience in the healthcare industry, David Feinberg for the management of their disparate initiatives.
Medical issues in several units of Google and Alphabet, including Nest, Verily, Calico, DeepMind and Google Fit. At the same time announced plans to integrate Google medical Department of the AI lab DeepMind to create “AI assistant for doctors and nurses”.
The project, as the newspaper notes, apparently, is the “biggest” in this area in Silicon valley. Amazon and Microsoft are also actively developing in the sphere of health care, but they failed to achieve such results.
In turn, some employees of Ascension raised questions about the legality of collecting and transferring data, patients, but the experts assured them that the Federal law on insurance of 1996 generally permits hospitals to share data with business partners, not telling patients about it, but provided that this information is used “only to help those subject to fulfill his functions in the health sector”.
Published after the article in The Wall Street Journal press release Ascension announced a partnership with Google. It is alleged that its goal is “to optimize health and well-being of citizens and communities, and create a comprehensive set of digital opportunities.” Google also confirmed in the blog that is working on a Project Nightningale. While patient data can only be used to provide services to the partnership and “can not and will not” match with any user data Google.
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