Italy has officially banned Google Analytics, in a further blow to Google in Europe that follows the decisions from French and Austrian authorities.
Read the full statement here
The decision from France’s CNIL (the French Data Protection Agency) was only a week prior and a few months after Austria’s, suggesting this might not be the last from EU countries as things gain momentum. It seems GA is no longer welcome in Europe.
The issue is that the GDPR was created to protect the data privacy of EU citizens, and part of that legislation is keeping their personal data in the EU. Google Analytics holds all of its data on servers in the United States, meaning website visitors based in the EU are having their data illegally transferred out of the EU.
Garante (the Italian Data Protection Authority) stated that because IP addresses were being processed by Google, this meant that personal data was being transferred. IP addresses can of course be obfuscated, however this was deemed insufficient because of Google’s ability to enrich this data with other data in its possession. Also, Google failed to demonstrate that it does this before the data is transferred to the U.S.
So to summarize, 3 countries in the EU - so far - have ruled that it is technically impossible to use GA in a GDPR compliant way. If you are EU based, it is vital to start making plans for alternative tracking solutions, but if you are outside the EU, the GDPR still applies.
Is GA4 the answer? It’s said to be “privacy by design” using “machine-learning to fill in the gaps” with a cookieless approach. But do you want the company you buy your ads from to also tell you how effective they’ve been, “filling in the gaps” with their own ML algorithms? With “not provided” Organic keyword data, and recent moves in Google Ads to less exact targeting options, it is just another strategy to sell more clicks. GA4 will simply over-attribute performance to Google Ads - hand-in-hand with reduced keyword targeting and the hiding of the value of Organic traffic.
If you want a real solution, Incendium is GDPR compliant but gives you the precise, user-level data you need. Get in touch with our team to find out more.