Berlin Regulator on Google Analytics

Published on Monday, December 16, 2019 - 13:56 by Martin Fletcher

In recent weeks Google Analytics have been attracting the attention of Supervisory Authorities in Germany regarding its non-compliant use by large numbers of organisations.

In a previous article we discussed the extent of non-compliance, with complaints being made totalling 200,000 website owners. In response the Supervisory Authorities are beginning to develop standardised processes for assessing and penalising instances of non-compliance. The aim being to speed the rate organisations will be investigated and push them into taking their obligations seriously.

The state Regulator for Berlin has now waded into the debate, looking tracking and third-party data sharing that require consent before they are activated. This approach fits in much more closely to the idea of building data privacy into your processes from the start.

Berlin Information Commissioner, Maja Smoltczyk, has said: “Lots of website operators use outdated versions of tracking tools which do not see consent before activating.”

“Technological developments mean that more sophisticated means of obtaining consent are now available which weren’t there a few years ago.”

“Most so called “cookie banners” that we see are not compliant with regulation.”

A key part of data protection compliance is that data controllers take into account the state of the art when they are making decisions regarding data processing. Activity tracking is an area that has seen a range of advances meaning that it has been easy for website operators to fall behind and would now not be in a position where they could demonstrate compliance. If they were ever able to do so in the first place anyway.

Smoltczyk continued “We have been receiving a large number of complaints in the area of tracking and sharing data with third parties. We are reviewing these and have launched investigations into many organisations, with more to come. Website operators should understand that they are not only failing to ensure that people’s data protection rights are being respected, they are running the risk of fines for infringing GDPR.”

With the number of investigations rising, there is an increasing incentive for organisations to get ahead of the curve and ensure that tools they use on their website are compliant. Particularly as pressure builds on Google to make changes which could leave currently non-compliant organisations playing catch up.

Berlin Regulator on Google Analytics

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