In France, recent news are interesting to say the least.

The CNIL is the french body on protection of privacy, which is regulating most of the online activities concerning data management.

They have recently issue a ruling that practically forbid the use the of Google Analytics.

From their press release:

The CNIL has issued other orders to comply to website operators using Google Analytics.

The investigation by the CNIL and its counterparts also extends to other tools used by sites that result in the transfer of data of European Internet users to the United States.

At the heart of the issue: US intelligence

The main issue bothering the regulator is that data of european citizens is accessible to the US intelligence.

Although Google has adopted additional measures to regulate data transfers (…) these are not sufficient to exclude the accessibility of this data for US intelligence services.

There is therefore a risk for French website users (…)

Not just France

This decision come after Austria’s DPA - Data Protection Authority - Österreichische Datenschutzbehörde - the local regulator for online privacy - have ruled that Google Analytics is in violation of Chapter V (transfer of personal data to the third parties) of the GDPR.

To panic or not panic, that is the question

While it is not looking for Google, does that mean that all website owners using GA should switch overnight?

Probably not.

Yes, the use of Google Analytics is likely to be considered a breach of privacy, but it does not mean that it is going to removed tomorrow from all European websites.

First, Google can still make some modifications to their tech to make it compliant with the regulation.

Second, the sheer number of websites currently Google Analytics would make enforcing a ban on Google Analytics quite complicated, and regulation might not apply the same to everyone.

Third, it is not excluded that Google lobbyists can find a way to cut a deal that would make the regulators more relaxed…

So, Webmasters and site owners using Google Analytics today probably still have some time to see it coming, but probably a good thing to start checking the water for alternative solutions…