According to France’s watchdog CNIL, Google Analytics, the world’s most extensively used online analytics programme built by Alphabet’s Google, risks providing US intelligence services access to data from French website users.
The data privacy regulator – one of the most vocal and prominent in Europe – claimed the US tech giant hadn’t taken enough steps to ensure data privacy rights under European Union rules in a ruling targeting an unidentified French website manager.
“These (measures) are insufficient to prevent this data from being accessed by US intelligence agencies,” the regulator stated.
“Users of French websites who utilise this service and whose data is exported are thus at danger.”
The CNIL stated the French website manager in question had one month to comply with EU regulations, and that similar orders had been given to other website operators.
The CNIL ruling was met with silence by Google. Google Analytics does not follow people throughout the Internet, according to the company, and users of the service have complete discretion over the data they gather.
Following objections from Vienna-based noyb (Non Of Your Business), an advocacy organisation formed by Austrian lawyer and privacy campaigner Max Schrems, who won a high-profile lawsuit with Europe’s top court in 2020, the CNIL made a similar judgement.
Because of similar concerns, the European Union’s Court of Justice cancelled the Privacy Shield, a transatlantic data transfer agreement used by thousands of enterprises for services ranging from cloud infrastructure to payroll and banking.
Because of the legal dangers they face, several significant businesses, notably Google and Meta’s Facebook, have asked for a new transnational data transfer treaty to be quickly agreed upon.
“Either we need sufficient safeguards in the US in the long term, or we’ll wind up with distinct goods for the US and the EU,” Schrems stated in response to the CNIL’s ruling.
“I would personally prefer better protections in the US, but this is up to the US legislator – not to anyone in Europe.”