An increasing number of EU countries are considering prohibiting Google Analytics due to GDPR compliance concerns. If your company relies on Google Analytics, especially for monitoring user behaviour in marketing efforts, keep reading to uncover proactive strategies for utilising Google Analytics compliantly.
Analysis tools serve the purpose of monitoring user behavior, but this practice often hinges on acquiring user consent, which is typically sought through clear and informed agreement in privacy policies. The success of this approach depends on website users giving their clear thumbs-up for data processing.
Various European authorities, including those in Austria, France, and Italy, have previously taken a stance against the utilisation of Google Analytics, citing violations of GDPR. The situation is also mirrored in Germany, where substantial fines have been legally enforced upon online stores that have incorporated Google Analytics on their websites.
A recent development came to light on July 3, 2023, as the Swedish Authority (IMY) unveiled an unprecedented penalty—amounting to €1 million—for entities employing Google Analytics. Moreover, the authority imposed an outright prohibition on any further use of the tool.
It's important to note that since July 2023, the penalties for unauthorised employment of such tools have been on the rise, underscoring the heightened seriousness with which such transgressions are being treated.
In addition to imposing fines, the regulatory authority holds the authority to halt any subsequent usage of Google Analytics.
Furthermore, if Google Analytics stands as the principal or exclusive analytics tool utilised for marketing purposes, there exists a potential risk. If Google Analytics is deactivated, it could lead to a complete shutdown of marketing activities, potentially resulting in a significant revenue loss.
Key takeaways for your business
- Evaluate the necessity of Google Analytics:Assess whether the analyses performed using Google Analytics are essential and thoroughly evaluated.
- Explore alternatives:Explore European or on-premises providers that can deliver similar insights and objectives, reducing your dependence on Google Analytics.
- Obtain visitor consent:Secure explicit consent from website visitors before implementing Google Analytics.
- Enhance Data Protection:Implement additional protective measures to ensure data security, aligning with EU/EEA standards.
For a practical example, consider this: Many companies, earlier this year, transitioned to the new Google Analytics 4, offering comprehensive tracking for websites and apps.
As regulatory authorities in the EU and Germany uphold rigorous auditing standards, reviewing and updating the above steps becomes even more vital, ensuring compliance and data protection in the evolving landscape.
When transferring personal data to non-EU or non-EEA countries, legal bases under Art.6 or Art.9, and Art. 45 et seq. of the GDPR are vital.
Some third countries have gained adequacy decisions from the EU Commission, signifying data protection levels similar to GDPR.
Google Analytics has improved its system, and many companies use the EU-approved Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs). However, the Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection (IMY) July 3 decision stressed the potential need for added safeguards with SCCs to maintain intended protection.
What's the outlook?
As of July 10, 2023, the new EU-US Data Framework is up and running. This move aims to simplify data transfers between the EU and the US. Yet, the big question is, how long will this last? The first critics have already rolled out legal actions against this framework in the European Court of Justice. So, the burning question remains: Is a Schrems III decision on the horizon? Time will tell.
Curious about safeguarding your business against GDPR risks? Get in touch with our in-house experts today to learn how to stay compliant and safeguard your marketing efforts.