Is Google Analytics illegal in Croatia?
- Andrii Romasiun
European Center for Digital Rights has filed complaints against dozens of companies across the EU for using Google Analytics because it doesn't comply with the GDPR. Two of these companies are located in Croatia.
These complaints are still in progress, however the Swedish court has already ruled a fine of 1,000,000 EUR against Tele2 and 30,000 EUR against CDON for using Google Analytics on their websites. Austria and France, among other EU countries, have also declared that Google Analytics violates the GDPR. As a result, companies using Google Analytics may face fines.
- Why are EU countries making Google Analytics illegal?
- Does the GDPR affect Croatia?
- GDPR: What's all the fuss about?
Why are EU countries making Google Analytics illegal?Google Analytics has been declared illegal in many EEA countries, such as France, Finland, Denmark, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, and Norway. Courts in EU countries are adopting a similar approach to the GDPR, so it is possible that other countries will follow soon.
Courts declare Google Analytics illegal because of the CLOUD Act which allows U.S. federal law enforcement agencies to compel U.S.-based companies to provide requested data, regardless of whether the data is stored in the U.S. or on foreign soil, such as in the EU.
The transfer of personal data outside the European Union is another issue with Google Analytics. The GDPR allows the transfer of personal data outside of the EU as long as the countries in question offer an adequate level of data protection, however the United States is not included in that list.
Does the GDPR affect Croatia?The EEA GDPR applies to all 27 member countries of the EU, including Croatia, as well as to any company operating or targeting the Croatian market. If you use Google Analytics and your websites target audience are Croatian people - you may be in breach of the GDPR!
However, privacy-friendly Google Analytics alternatives exist. Swetrix allows you to collect important metrics without gathering any personal data. This way, you'll remain GDPR compliant, as GDPR doesn't apply to the data you process.
GDPR: What's all the fuss about?The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on 25 May 2018, and now affects almost every business in the EU. The GDPR builds on the existing Data Protection Act of 1996, and places more importance on the handling of personal data. Now, all businesses and organisations must ensure that all personal data is stored securely and protected.
The recent wave of rulings regarding the legality of the use of Google Analytics in the EU is part of a broader issue regarding data transfers between the European Economic Area and the United States. According to the GDPR, the personal data of European residents can only be transferred to countries with an adequate level of data protection. The problem is that the US legal system allows the collection of personal data and surveillance (such as the CLOUD Act or FISA) on foreign citizens.
The EU and the US previously had two data transfer frameworks, Safe Harbor and Privacy Shield, which facilitated GDPR-compliant data transfers. However, in 2015 and 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) declared EU-US data transfers illegal. This retroactive stance means that virtually all data transfers between the European Union and the United States from 2000 to 2023 were unauthorised.
The newly proposed "Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework" appears to be a rehash of previous failed agreements. Despite claims of progress, little has changed in US law or the EU's approach, particularly regarding FISA 702 surveillance and the protection of non-US individuals' rights. The EU-US negotiations resulted in a one-page agreement in principle that fails to address key privacy concerns. While the agreement includes cosmetic changes and renaming oversight bodies, it fundamentally lacks meaningful reform, leaving data transfers and privacy rights in a precarious state. Legal challenges to this framework are expected, and its future remains uncertain as it heads back to the Court of Justice.
Following the CJEU judgement, the majority of EU companies continued their regular operations with US-based service providers. Nyob filed complaints in all 30 EU and EEA member states against 101 European companies which continued using Google Analytics or Facebook Connect services. Some of these complaints led to a decision against the use of Google Analytics in several EU countries like France and Italy, which means that other countries' Personal Data Protection Agencies likely rule against Google Analytics in a similar manner.
In light of these developments, it's important to consider alternatives to Google Analytics that prioritise user privacy and compliance with GDPR regulations. Fortunately, such alternatives do exist and Swetrix is one of them.
Our service is cookie-less, meaning that we provide analytics insights without collecting personal information or tracking individual users. Here's a live demo page so you can see for yourself.
In contrast to the tech giants, we offer our services at an affordable price instead of providing them for free and then excessively monetising user data. We offer a 14 day free trial (no need to add your payment details) and pricing starts at just $5 / month. Feel free to give us a try.