The use of the popular data collection and analysis tool Google Analytics has been declared illegal in Italy. The Italian Data Protection Authority, the county’s data watchdog, said that transferring data collected from citizens to the United States is a breach of the law and contrary to European Union regulations.
France and Austria were the first European countries to effect a ban on Google Analytics. As regulations around data safety and security continue to tighten across Europe, more countries are expected to join the bandwagon unless Google changes tact of its data collection systems.
The ban by Italian authorities follows a detailed investigation that started in August 2020 after a complaint regarding data transfers was lodged with the Supervisory Authority. The complaint was filed by European Center for Digital Rights and involved several European supervisory authorities participating in a task force.
Italian authorities concluded that Google Analytics collects data that includes device IP address along with information on the browser, operating system, screen resolution, selected language, date and time of page viewing. This information is then transferred to serves in the USA. The Italian SA emphasized that information such as an IP address is personal data and cannot be anonymized in any way.
Furthermore, the institution concluded that Google had not put in place adequate measures of protection for personal data to guarantee personal data safety.
The watchdog concluded that businesses that want to continue using Google Analytics must add new safeguards to their systems.
The case that brought to light these revelations involved the website Caffeina Media Srl. It was given 90 days to ensure that data collected from visitors is not sent to the United States.
The far-reaching case is among measures that the European Union is putting in place to ensure enhanced data protection. It’s not clear what consequences Italian websites would face if they don’t comply with the new regulation.