Advocacy group Noyb filed complaints against Google-owned Fitbit in Austria, the Netherlands and Italy on Thursday, accusing the fitness tracker of violating the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy regime.

Vienna-based Noyb (None Of Your Business), the digital rights group founded by privacy activist Max Schrems, has filed a lawsuit against big tech companies including Alphabet’s Google and Meta over privacy violations. Hundreds of complaints were filed, some of which resulted in hefty fines.

Noyb said Fitbit violated the requirements of the GDPR by forcing its users to consent to data transfers outside the EU and not offering the possibility to withdraw consent.

Fitbit sells watches that track activity, heart rate and sleep. It also offers a subscription service starting at $9.99 (nearly Rs 830) per month.

Bernardo Armentano, Noyb’s data protection lawyer, said: “Given that the company collects the most sensitive health data, it is surprising that it did not even attempt to explain its use of this data as required by law. “

Fines for violating GDPR rules can reach up to 4% of a company’s annual global revenue. In 2022, Google’s annual revenue is $280 billion (nearly Rs. 2,315,350 crore).

The advocacy group wants Fitbit to be forced to share all mandatory information about data transfers with its users and allow them to use its app without consent to the transfer.

Noyb said that while GDPR allows everyone to withdraw consent, Fitbit’s privacy policy states that the only way to withdraw consent is to delete the account, which means losing previously tracked exercise and health data.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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