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

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?

Bas van den Beld

About Bas van den Beld

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.

7 thoughts on “Germans (again) believe Google Analytics is illegal, they are serious now

  1. These ideas maintained by German officials are, of course, mind-bogglingly ignorant and demonstrate a total lack of understanding of the international nature and technical underpinnings of the internet.

    If they’re serious with declaring GA illegal in Germany, they might as well disconnect themselves from the internet entirely as this would set a precedent that can be expanded to nearly every form of online interaction.

    It’s soul-destroying to see how utterly ignorant and incompetent politicians continue to fuck up in this way, thus seriously threatening the free flow of information to the citizens they claim to represent.

  2. Hi,

    i’m from germany and it’s just embarrassing to see what our officials do. We also think that they have no idea how the internet works and what to do with it.

    But be sure, most of german internet users don’t think that way 😉

  3. Well that makes all webservers illegal as they track every ipaddress – obvisly we have found the German political equivelent of Sarah Palin

    I used to joke that all the really good technical graduates in germany wanted to go and work for Audi designing the next Audi and working towards the office with the “herr doktor professor” brass plate”. – now ime not so sure.

    a few years ago there was an attempt to have posession of standard tools used for network diagnostics a hacking offence unless you where an “approved ” and qualifed person.

    I am tempted to contact my employers EWC ( and the German media/tech unions) and sugest they do some OTR lobbying of German MEP’s pointing out that this may lead to jobs being moved from germany.


  4. I`m no fan of Google spying on my movements!
    But it`s Shop owners and entrepreneurs who get hurt, not Google!
    BUT I agree with Ulysses above….
    There are a lot more services which we will not be allowed to use. Or at least the Germans (i live in Germany) will ban Google first, then they will recognise that there is a lot more out there tracking you in every way possible. To name just a few: Twitter, Facebook, Who is, every webserver, and so on.
    It`s just a part of internet censorship. At the same time it`s sold as “better Privacy”.
    At the end it will ruin every german internet entrepreneur, `cause without tracking you are forced to live as an Internet Neanderthaler or it will force these people to live somewhere else. (At the other hand:
    Germany is searching for ways to get Computer Specialists to Immigrate, right now, `cause we don´t have enoght specialists) Just Politics as usual.

    If you run a Business outside of Germany, like a Community or any other kind of Service – be prepared that you will loose all german customers!
    German officials are huge fans of Censorship, but they have no leye for all the future effects, or the effects on the economy. (how can you, if you never seriously used the Google tools, which are part of the human evolution and the way we can see the world from another perspective, or to earn some kind of income with it…) Politicians just act for the people they get the money from. These TYRANnosaurus Rex Old School Markets who control the minds and needs of just everyone.
    At the end it`s the gouvernment the people vote for. Some Good like Dinosaurs who dig their own grave. It`s so crazy when you think about it… they are digging a deep grave for us!
    At least it`s a pleasure to see that topic on State of Search!

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