Google Analytics Leaving Behind a Large Number of Users Due to Restrictions in Europe: 10 Points

Google did bring some changes to its analytics service but is yet to convince the European Union.

Google Analytics Leaving Behind a Large Number of Users Due to Restrictions in Europe: 10 Points

Photo Credit: Reuters

Google has not yet publicly commented on the matter

  • Italian SA has banned the use of Google Analytics in the country
  • In February, France's watchdog had found the service violating GDPR law
  • Google discontinued its Universal Analytics to please regulators

Google Analytics, the service that provides Web analytics to most of the top-visited websites around the world, is facing the heat in Europe. Italy has emerged as the third country — after France and Austria — to name the service for violating the data protection law of European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As a result of the move, the use of Google Analytics has been banned in Italy. It will no longer be able to track users visiting websites that are based in the country.

Here are the 10 important points to explain the ongoing curb on Google Analytics and its impact.

  1. The Italian Supervisory Authority (commonly known as Italian SA) has banned the use of Google Analytics. The authority said that the Google service "violates data protection law because it transfers users' data to the USA, which is a country without an adequate level of data protection."
  2. The Italian SA cited the case of website operator Caffeina Media S.r.l. that uses Google Analytics for tracking users. It gave the operator a ninety days ultimatum to remove the analytics service and transfer its account. The authority also ordered all the Italian website operators, both public and private, to remove Google Analytics.
  3. "Upon expiry of the 90-day deadline set out in its decision, the Italian SA will check that the data transfers at issue are compliant with the EU GDPR, including by way of ad-hoc inspections," the authority said.
  4. In February, France's watchdog Commission Nationale Informatique & Libertés (CNIL) said that Google Analytics involved the risk of sharing French website users' data with US intelligence services. The agency ordered website operators in the country to comply with the EU regulation.
  5. Austrian Data Protection Authority Datenschutzbehörde aka DSB also in January declared that the use of Google Analytics violated the GDPR law.
  6. In 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union brought the landmark judgement — called Schrems II. It resulted in the restriction of companies in the EU countries from transferring their data to the US using an existing framework known as Privacy Shield. The decision has led to the EU members to restrict Google Analytics use in their countries.
  7. Google has not yet publicly released a statement on the matter.
  8. However, Google discontinued its Universal Analytics service that was collecting a large amount of data for enabling Web analytics. The company has instead introduced Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to better comply with privacy laws and use anonymised data.
  9. But nonetheless, the EU is not yet convinced by Google's recent moves. The Italian SA in its decision said, "An IP address is a personal data and would not be anonymised even if it were truncated – given Google's capabilities to enrich such data through additional information it holds."
  10. The restrictions by the EU companies are likely to help local analytics service providers to grow their business in the region. SimpleAnalytics is apparently amongst the key beneficiaries of the decisions. It covered the recent restriction of Google Analytics usage in Italy in a detailed blog post to emphasise on the GDPR law's violation.

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