Swedish watchdog warns against using Google Analytics
The Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection (IMY) has warned companies recently against using Google’s free web analytics service called Google Analytics. The agency has even slapped several fines in relation to user data exports.
Google Analytics has become an everyday tool that companies use for tracking website traffic and identifying trends. It allows tracking of website performance and provides visitor insights such as demographics and behaviour. Moreover, Google Analytics has also been integrated with other Google products such as Google Console and Google Ads and therefore, you can track data across multiple channels. However, companies have recently been warned against using Google's free web analytics service by the Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection (IMY), and the agency has issued a couple of fines in relation to user data exports.
Breach of privacy laws
In a statement, the watchdog has revealed that it has found that the level of protection that Google applies to exported data of European users to the US is not sufficient. The Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection audited four companies after getting complaints from None of Your Business (NOYB) that these companies were in violation of the law by exporting personal data to the US. DON, Coop, Dagens Industri, and Tele2 were audited to know how they use Google Analytics for web statistics.
The report revealed that the protection measures were unable to meet the required legal standard and as a result, fines amounting to $30,000 for online entertainment retailer CDON and a staggering $1.1 million for Swedish network provider Tele2 have been issued. A breach of the privacy rulebook of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules related to data exports to countries outside of the EU/EEA was also found, however, no fines were issued in these cases.
In a statement, the Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection said, “The Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection (IMY) has audited how four companies use Google Analytics for web statistics. IMY issues administrative fines against two of the companies. One of the companies has recently stopped using the statistics tool on its own initiative, while IMY orders the other three to also stop using it.”
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free web analytics service for tracking website traffic. It allows you to look at data across platforms, predict user behaviour, gather insights, and anticipate future customer actions with the help of machine learning.