The DOJ gained jurisdiction over the probe after a brief dispute with the Federal Trade Commission, which has traditionally reviewed Google-related cases, the New York Post reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The agency will investigate potential issues related to Google's expanded access to the private data – especially health-related data – of Fitbit users.
Representatives for Google and the Department of Justice declined to comment.
The probe will unfold as Google and other leading U.S. tech firms face unprecedented scrutiny over their business practices. As part of a separate inquiry by the House Judiciary Committee, Google submitted a series of responses related to its data collection practices last month.
The DOJ is also investigating Google's overall business for potential antitrust violations. The agency asked Google in September to submit documents related to past FTC investigations into its business, according to the Post.
Fitbit disclosed its acquisition by Google on Nov. 1 in a deal that valued the company at $7.35 million per share. In the announcement, Fitbit touted its data security practices and noted "health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads."
"Fitbit has been a true pioneer in the industry and has created terrific products, experiences and a vibrant community of users," Google senior vice president of devices and software Rick Osterloh said in a statement at the time. "We're looking forward to working with the incredible talent at Fitbit, and bringing together the best hardware, software and AI, to build wearables to help even more people around the world."