Google has recently been under the radar of the European Union (EU) on charges of abuse of “its monopoly power” in mobile applications and search engines. According to a report by AndroidPolice, several EU countries have criticized the use of Google Analytics alleging violations against General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Simple Analyticsa Google Analytics competitor updated its blog post to note that three EU member countries have decided to ban the service that will allow webmasters to track and analyze their site traffic.
Which EU countries have banned Google Analytics
The report mentions that the French National Freedom of Liberation Commission (CNIL) announced the banning of Google Analytics in February 2022, while the Austrian Data Protection Authority started blocking the service in January. Now, Italy has joined the movement to ban Google Analytics in the country. The three countries cited a common reason for banning the tech giant’s service.
Why EU countries ban Google Analytics
According to the report, the Italian government explained its decision to ban Google Analytics to restrict unregulated data transmissions from the country. This was also the reason cited by the other two countries for taking such a decision. Governments are concerned about the unregulated flow of massive amounts of user data (like IP addresses, etc.) that is collected via cookies and transferred to the United States and potentially viewable by the US government or other third parties.
This violates EU GDPR, as the company does not promise users due process when things go wrong and need to be fixed. To explain the situation, the Italian government mentioned a local web service provider named Caffeine Media and gave the company 90 days to transition its account out of Google Analytics.
In 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a decision named “Schrems II” which currently offers several justifications for banning Google Analytics. This decision overturned the principles passed in the framework called Privacy Shield which was designed to provide encrypted data transfers to the United States.
How Google is trying to fight the ban
The report suggests that authorities in the respective countries reject Google’s appeals and defenses in response to these rulings. Google is not even able to prove its ability to anonymize user data from Europe before passing it to US Encryption, the report says. Moreover, the report also explains that this process would not be a problem if Google did not share any data with the US government or third parties.
What is Google Analytics 4
Google has decided to close the Universal Analytics platform that currently supports most Google Analytics clients by 2023. This platform also relies heavily on trackers to retrieve detailed information about users who have visited the site. The company has introduced Google Analytics 4, which does not rely heavily on the use of trackers and is also available now. However, the latest version also doesn’t have much chance of being accepted by the EU as it appears to collect the same data using different methods, the report suggests. Additionally, Google has also struggled to develop new privacy-conscious web trackers over the past few years, the report mentions.