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Denmark: use of Google Analytics is illegal

The Danish Data Protection Agency ruled the use of Google Analytics illegal after reviewing its settings and the terms under which the tool is provided.

Danish organizations will have to consider whether they use Google Analytics in compliance with data protection law, requiring them to either bring their use of the tool into compliance or, if necessary, discontinue using it altogether.

The investigation concerned the specific settings available to users when they intend to use Google Analytics, especially in light of Google’s attempt to review what data can be collected.

“However, our conclusion is that the tool cannot, without more, be used lawfully,” said Makar Juhl Holst, Senior Legal Advisor at the Danish Data Protection Agency.

The official press release suggests that a number of other agencies found the use of Google Analytics to be unlawful, including the Austrian Data Protection Authority, the French Data Protection Authority, and the Italian Data Protection Authority.

Furthermore, it’s stated that such a decision does not only represent individual committees but also outlines the overall position of the EU/EEA.

“The GDPR is made to protect the privacy of European citizens. This means, among other things, that you should be able to visit a website without your data ending up in the wrong hands. We have carefully reviewed the possible settings of Google Analytics and have come to the conclusion that you cannot use the tool in its current form without implementing supplementary measures," said Holst.

Certain mitigation strategies offered to companies that wish to continue using Google Analytics include pseudonymization by means of a reverse proxy, which will help avoid direct contact between the user's terminal and the servers of the analytics tool. This proxy must in itself fulfill a set of criteria to be in line with the EDPB’s (European Data Protection Board’s) recommendations.

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