A Google Analytics Ban Sweeps Across the EU

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The European Union has always had its sights on Google for abusing its monopoly. A number of countries are considering a Google Analytics ban as they believe the company has violated its General Data Protection Regulation rules.

Italy has joined the list of countries in the EU to crackdown on Google’s monopoly. It is banning Google Analytics for violating GDPR rules. Google Analytics helps webmasters track and analyze how many visitors accessed their website and is used by millions of companies across the EU. Italy will be the third country to ditch Google’s services and turn to other services.

The country stated that it took the decision after carefully considering how the data collected by Google could be viewed by third parties in the US. This would be in direct violation of GDPR as analytics collects everything from IP addresses to session statistics, which can be transmitted to the United States and viewed by third parties or the government there. Italy’s competition authority has given its domestic web services provider, Caffeina Media, a 90-day timeline to terminate its relationship with Google Analytics.

google analytics ban in Europe

The EU is asking webmasters to exercise restraint in handling user data.

Austria and France lead the EU Way

In January 2022, the Austrian Data Protection Authority ruled that transferring data to the US violates EU laws. The decision came after careful consideration of several complaints by the Austrian NGO noyb. The NGO filed nearly 101 complaints with all EU data protection authorities. At the time, Max Schrems, honorary chair of noyb complained that, “instead of adapting services to be GDPR compliant, US companies have tried to simply add some text to their privacy policies and ignore the Court of Justice. Many EU companies have followed the lead instead of switching to legal options.” Shortly after Austria’s decision, France followed suit in February and considered a Google analytics ban citing similar reasons.

France’s independent body stated that although Google appears to have taken additional measures with regard to data transfers it does not “exclude the possibility of access to this data by US intelligence services.” France’s national commission on the freedom of liberation (CNIL) warned about the Google Analytics data practices and considered applying stricter rules. By June, the regulatory body had issued warnings to firms to either make changes to their use of Google Analytics or risk regulatory enforcement. A lot of justifications for the Google Analytics ban stems from the ‘Schrems II’ decision from the Court of Justice of the European Union from 2020

Google’s attempts to appeal or overturn the Google Analytics ban in Europe have been largely unsuccessful. Schrems commented, “It’s interesting to see that the different European Data Protection Authorities all come to the same conclusion: the use of Google Analytics is illegal. There is a European task force and we assume that this action is coordinated and other authorities will decide similarly.”

Google GDPR violations in the EU have put additional pressure on US-based providers to host data outside America. To avoid the Google Analytics Ban in Europe, the tech giant tried limiting its tracking activities, but as the process relies heavily on data collection, it is unlikely to gain favor with the EU. Google was unable to prove that Google analytics GDPR compliance in force as it could not show officials that EU data was anonymized before transferring it to the US. In recent years, Google has struggled to develop new, privacy-minded web trackers that are GDPR compliant. Google Analytics Universal will shut down on July 1, 2023. It will be replaced by Google Analytics 4, which works in a similar format but collects less data. However, its privacy issues are sure to cause consternation within the EU.

Meanwhile, in the US, senators have called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the scale of data collected by Google and Apple.

The post A Google Analytics Ban Sweeps Across the EU appeared first on Industry Leaders Magazine.

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