Germans (again) believe Google Analytics is illegal, they are serious now

Germans (again) believe Google Analytics is illegal, they are serious now

13th January 2011

In Europe we all know that the ‘marriage’ between German officials, government and other regulators, is not the best marriage you can have. They keep having issues. The Streetview blockage of specific houses is one of them, but a bigger problem is how the German regulators look at Google Analytics. Now the marriage seems to have been busted all together.

In an interview with German newspaper “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” the German commissioner for data protection in Hamburg Johannes Caspar stated that the regulators have stopped talks with Google and that the use of Google Analytics should be illegal.

This kind of talk is not new. Google Analytics has been under siege with Caspar and his people for years now. They believe that the fact that information Google Analytics gathers about website visits via a user’s IP address, is send back to Google servers in the United States for processing should not be allowed. Reason for that is that at that moment the Germans have no control over their data anymore.

Over the past years the data protection office in Hamburg has been in talks with Google about these issues, trying to find a way in which it could work. Caspar now believes those talks have failed:

“Unfortunately we have come to the conclusion that Google has not complied with our data protection demands. We must clearly say: What Google offers is not enough.”

Google believes it has made the right steps towards the Germans by agreeing to abbreviate IP addresses for anonymity and making protection modules for different internet browsers. These modules however are apparently not there for Safari and Opera which makes it insufficient for Caspar.

“Some 10 percent of German internet users are left out of the opt-out option,” Caspar said.

If you look at this from a European level the Germans are more strict than other countries. Google Analytics meets all the European privacy standards Google officials say.

The Germans however seem confident this is it. They say the talks have failed and there is no way back: Google Analytics should be illegal. Google themselves say they didn’t even know the talks had ended. Still, they might be talking to lawyers soon. Or will it turn out to be yet another Caspar the little ghost story?

Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.