Google Analytics Has Been Declared Illegal in Austria

Google has been hit with some bad news from Europe. The court in Austria has ruled that Google Analytics violates the European data protection laws and as a result, Google Analytics has been declared illegal to use on European websites.

Max Schrems, also known as the lawyer who successfully sued Facebook for breaching privacy violations against European citizens, has added another success to his book of victories, but this time against Google.

Google in Direct Violation of the GDPR

Privacy Shield (a law that allowed European data to be transferred to the United States) was invalidated by the CJEU on the 16th of July, 2020. This had far-reaching consequences for the US online services operating in Europe; they were no longer able to transfer the data of European citizens to the United States as this would mean the data of European citizens would be vulnerable to American mass surveillance.

Despite the 2020 ruling made by the CJEU, many providers continued to send personal data to the United States, one of which is Google Analytics.

As said by Max Schrems:

“Instead of actually adapting services to be GDPR compliant, US companies have tried to simply add some text to their privacy policies and ignore the Court of Justice. Many EU companies have followed the lead instead of switching to legal options.”

Following this, the Austrian Data Protection Authority has decided that the use of Google Analytics violates the GDPR and therefore the data of European citizens cannot be transferred across the Atlantic.

What It Means for European Websites

Following the court ruling, many businesses that operate in Europe will have to make a critical decision: continue to use Google Analytics and face a hefty fine, or find an alternative website traffic tool.

Although many providers will likely ignore the European laws and continue using Google Analytics, the fines they face will by no means be tame. NOYB described a case in which the Irish Data Protection Commission issued WhatsApp with a 225 million euro fine for violating protection laws.

Going forward, it’s likely that other countries in the European Union will follow this first step towards a larger revolution.

Jason Muller
SEO Specialist with an ever-growing passion for the digital industry. Enjoy meeting and working with people who are visionaries and dare to go the path less traveled, inspiring others along the way.

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