Google has been in the media a lot in the past months. Rumours are that Google is still sending data to the United States via Google Analytics. Some people say that Google Analytics will be illegal, but some also say that Google will have to change their tracking software. Today we will go on a journey to explain the current situation and what we think will happen!
What is going on?
GDPR is happening. The GDPR, short for General Data Protection Regulation, prohibits sharing personal data with the United States. An Austrian organisation has found out that Google is still collecting data and sharing this data with the United States. The AU privacy authority also confirmed this.
Other EU authorities are now investigating if they should prohibit the use of Google Analytics.
So what kind of data has Google been sharing with the United States? IP-addresses mostly. That sounds minor, but it is bigger than you think; we will come back to this later.
Let’s go back four years.
It’s the year 2018; remember when every website asked you to accept their cookies? And your inbox was full of privacy updates from different companies? that was the moment that the GDPR got instated
The GDPR indicates, among other things, that businesses cannot exchange data with the US since their law stipulates that the intelligence agency has access to that data. If we go back a paragraph, that means that the Intelligence agency can recognise individuals by their IP addresses!
What is even odder is that the fourth amendment usually protects this. But apparently, anyone living outside the US is not protected by these laws.
The end of Google Analytics?
We can never know for sure, but the ice under Google is getting thinner by the rising temperatures of the importance of privacy. And it won’t be long before Google falls through that ice if they do not change these rules.
Google has made a fact-list regarding Google Analytics its data privacy, where they cover most if not all of the questions and concerns that the investigating organisations have. This document emphasises that the companies decide what data they collect, which mostly feels like Google is pointing fingers.
There are alternatives for Google Analytics. For example:
- Adobe Analytics (US-Based)
- Webtrekk (EU-Based)
If you choose a US-Based alternative, be wary since they might be the next to be investigated!
If third parties get banned as a whole, you can also host your own Analytics with Matomo or Piwik. This way, you are in charge of storing your data and what you want to collect.
But you can also wait it out for a bit; you can bet that Google will not just drop the European market. If you choose to wait, keep track of current events regarding Google! Therefore you can quickly swap to an alternative before it is too late.
What we think
At CroudX, we make privacy and transparency our highest priority because we believe that that should be placed first if you track and store people’s data. If someone wants to be anonymous on the internet, consumers should have that option.
Also, inform people about the data you collect and the purposes for which the data is being used. Consumers are more likely to accept data collection if you are upfront and honest. Consumers might even prefer your webshop over a competitor!
To conclude, do not panic and/or make hasty decisions. If you keep a close eye on the media and broaden your horizon about European or self-hosted alternatives, you will be fine and in time to switch!
Or you could follow us!
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Till next time!
Check out our previous blog!