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Is Google Analytics Doomed?

Is Google Analytics doomed in the EU?

Current EU Crackdown on Google Analytics

Google Analytics (GA) is a widely-used tool to analyze website traffic. However, its legality in the EU is debatable, with some countries taking action against its use. EU countries, including Finland, Italy, Austria, Denmark, and France, have fined specific cases for using GA, setting a precedent for the rest of the EU. Its use is considered unlawful in practice, although not entirely barred.

The issue with Data Transfers to the US

The issue with GA in the EU relates to data transfers to the US. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) safeguards EU citizens’ data. However, after the Snowden revelations, it was argued that EU citizens’ data needs to be sufficiently protected when transferred to the US. Google transmits data to the US, raising concerns about European GDPR compliance, which is a massive red flag. Even though Google has an EU entity in Ireland, it doesn’t stop all data transfers to the US, making GA illegal in the EU.

Proposed Solution?

The EU and the US have developed a new data transfer agreement, the Trans-Atlantic Privacy Framework, to address the issue. US President Joe Biden signed an executive order to make this framework possible. However, European Center for Digital Rights, a non-profit organization based in Vienna, is expected to challenge the framework before the Court of Justice of the EU. Therefore, the destiny of GA in the EU is still unclear.

Google Analytics 4 and GDPR Compliance

GA4 is more privacy-friendly than Universal Analytics. Nonetheless, it doesn’t solve the vital legal issues with data transfers. In theory, there is no EU-wide ban on GA. However, GA is not GDPR compliant in practice due to data transfers to the US. Therefore, website owners and digital marketers in the EU should know the legal risks of using GA and consider alternative solutions.

Now, will they? Probably not. There’s no panic, and most website owners pay no mind to recent events. But the EU ban is possible, and it will affect us all.

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