NEWS21 August 2012

Norweigan investigation considers banning Google Analytics

Europe Legal

NORWAY— Google Analytics is facing a potential ban in Norway after the Norwegian Data Protection Bureau declared that the service is not compliant with a recent EU directive on the collection of IP addresses by search engines.

According to Aftenposten, Google Analytics does not comply with that directive because it is collecting IP addresses and web surfing habits — and it could use that data for its ad business, because it is not a pure analytics company.

The report argues that Google will have to change two things in order to comply with Norwegian law. First it will have to clarify its terms of service and stop sharing Google Analytics data with other Google services. Secondly it will have to anonymise collected data and IP addresses.

A Google spokesperson said: “Google Analytics fully complies with Norwegian and European data protection laws. Every day many Norwegian companies use Google Analytics to improve their online presence and make their websites better for the users.

“Google Analytics is designed to keep information safe. Webmasters using Google Analytics are in complete control over which data is sent to the service and how Google uses, and can use, the information received from their sites. We have offered to meet the Norwegian Data Protection Agency several times to answer to any questions on Google Analytics and we remain willing to do so.”

It’s not the first time that Google Analytics has been threatened by European data protection authorities. In 2009, German regulators warned that the use of the service to track web browsing habits was illegal. The issue was resolved two years when Google agreed to implement a number of changes to safeguard privacy.