It has now been four years since GDPR, or the “European Data Protection Regulation”, came into effect. Many companies in recent years have had to adapt to the best of their ability to comply with the new regulation, which has brought great changes and great problems at the same time. With the advent of 2022, the EU has made official one more step for privacy-protecting regulations, namely the banding of the widely used Google Analytics platform.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at why this further change and the rationale behind it.
Google Analytics, what is it all about?
For those who are not familiar with the Google Analytics platform, it is none other than the largest web analytics service on the web. As you can guess from the name, it is a service offered by Google completely free of charge, and its function is to analyze large amounts of data from users running around the cyberweb and compile real statistics and reports on the various visitors to a given site that adopts such a service.
Being a market analysis service, it is mainly used for marketing analysis and by webmasters for better management of their advertising campaigns.
However, being a giant data analyzer, it needs powerful platforms that can process all the information. Such servers are located in their entirety in the United States of America, and this is where the real problems begin.
Google Analytics and data transferred to the U.S. without adequate safeguards
Some examples are “I accept all Cookies” and “I accept only those Cookies essential to navigation”.
The real problem, as already anticipated, is the fact that all data stored by Google Analytics systems, end up on servers located in the U.S. and this transition has never been regulated in any way due to the inability of internet majors, including Google, to put in place adequate safeguards during the transfer and during the analysis of data on U.S. soil.
Google Analytics 3 & 4 vs. European Union: let’s go into detail
It should be pointed out that as of today the version of Google Analytics is version 3 and will soon be replaced by version 4. Will the latter also be non-compliant?
Absolutely not. Whether it is version 3 (GA3) or version 4 (GA4), Google Analytics is not GDPR compliant.
While version 4 has some important additions regarding privacy management, this wink to the European regulation is by no means enough to be admitted into the regularity imposed by the EU.
As confirmed by the Privacy Guarantor, the Silicon Valley company does not sufficiently protect EU citizens’ data from the invasive surveillance laws on U.S. soil. For this very reason, GDPR cannot be in any way integrated by Google into its systems, as it would go against the federal laws of its own country.
It is also worth pointing out that relations between the EU regulator and the Google company had already soured when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) invalidated Google’s so-called “Privacy Shield,” which was a maneuver attempted by the U.S. company in order to bring data transfers between the United States and Europe into compliance with the law. This crack reached its peak in 2020 with the EU’s litigation against Google for violating GDPR rules.
But without Google Analytics, what can a company do to better manage its marketing?
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