Swedish privacy watchdog: stop using Google Analytics

This is good advice from Sweden’s privacy watchdog.
Companies must stop using Google Analytics

Most countries should follow suit with their citizens’ data.

IMY, the watchdog, noted (my italics for house style): ‘IMY issues an administrative fine of 12 million SEK against Tele2 and 300,000 SEK against CDON, which has not taken the same extensive protective measures as Coop and Dagens Industri.’

If you’ve followed this blog, you know my feelings about Google. Consequently we’ve never built any tool on our websites to get this data, though we do warn you in our T&Cs that we have advertisers or plug-in makers who do.

Therefore, in those T&Cs we include tools for opting out of tracking and Analytics data collection. It probably does us out of money, but it’s the principle of the whole thing.

And to be extremely safe, I had my Google account (which dates back to the 2000s) removed from any possible Analytics access. If I recall correctly, a colleague had reached out to them and soon I was chatting to someone working in that department. I insisted on not only having me removed from that site’s Analytics access, but all Analytics access forever. Somehow through a mixture of that and playing around with the settings in the Google account, I managed to do just that. I don’t want these data from you because I’m quite happy with the aggregate stuff. I know which articles are read more, smart enough to figure out what keywords brought you there, and after 30 years of making websites, I have a very good idea of how users move through one.

Yes, it’s entirely possible for me to start a fresh Google account—after all, I still have my Facebook and Twitter ones in case I need to reach people whose contact points that I know are only on those platforms, and to do client stuff. I was given one for some years for a board role. But as far as my company is concerned, I just can’t see that happening, not after 14 years of de-Googling (after all, I need to do it on every new device).

Your privacy matters and it’s your right to have it.

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2 thoughts on “Swedish privacy watchdog: stop using Google Analytics

  1. The problem for most of us is that we (okay, I) don’t know any other way of tracking our content for visitors, how long they stick around, etc. I used to have big numbers, then came Panda, mobile speed, and fewer independent blog writers and readers. It’s a shame, but for me it’s the easiest thing to use, since I’ve been using it since the late 2000s.

  2. Sorry I took a while to come back to you, Mitch. I caught a cold around the time you wrote, and while I still blogged, I wanted to be on slightly better form to reply.

    I used to track this stuff closely but gave up about a decade ago. I keep a cursory eye on the number of views, which various WordPress plug-ins give me.

    I wish there were more commonplace alternatives that had the ease that you experience on Google Analytics.

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