US tech giants have been given another kick by EU regulators as Italy’s data protection authority rules against data transfers to the US using Google Analytics.
The Garante’s decision came yesterday as regulators scrutinized a website operator that used Google Analytics. Regulators found that the site collected all kinds of information.
So far, completely normal. Google Analytics is commonly used by websites to analyze traffic. Others exist, but Google is really the big beast. It also conducts its analysis in the United States, which EU regulators have objected to. The place is, after all, “a country without an adequate level of data protection”, according to the regulator.
Italy is just the latest country to target Google’s rump. Earlier this year, the Austrian watchdog ruled that the GDPR had been breached by a German company using Google Analytics. France weighed in shortly after and now Italy have had their say. It’s almost as if sending EU citizens’ data for processing in the US, where intelligence services can get their hands on it, is a bad thing.
Other US tech giants will be keeping a close eye on Google’s setbacks, as it isn’t the only company handing over data for processing. For its part, Microsoft has promised to process all EU data within EU borders as part of its EU Data Boundary initiative.
The Italian authority took the opportunity to issue a stern warning to Italian websites (both public and private) about what it described as “illegal” data transfers made to the United States through the use of Google Analytics. She also noted that “the measures that incorporate the transfer tools adopted by Google do not currently guarantee an adequate level of protection of users’ personal data”.
A 90-day deadline has been set to bring transfers into compliance with the GDPR and the Italian authority is planning ad hoc inspections to check that everything is fine with them. This pretty much means stopping the use of Google Analytics.
For its part, Google says Analytics is simply a service to help understand how visitors use a site rather than a way to track individuals. The company published a lengthy article about the privacy controls in the tool.
However, European regulators seem unimpressed, and Italy is the latest voice to join in the chorus of disapproval over the transfer of data to places lacking the same privacy regulations.
The register asked Google for its opinion on the comments and will update if the search giant responds. ®