Google Analytics: Analyzing the Latest Wave of Legal Concerns for Google in the US and the EU
41 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2012 Last revised: 24 Sep 2012
Date Written: July 1, 2010
The next wave of concern regarding Google involves web analytics. Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage. The concerns of web analytics use touches on issues of online user privacy, government use of personal information, and information on website user activity.
Web analytics programs such as Google Analytics will continue to evolve, but we hope this article will serve as a starting point for understanding both this Google product and online data collection. This article will discuss developments regarding Google Analytics and similar products through June 2010.
In this article, we discuss web analytics and Google Analytics (Part II); the privacy and legal issues involved with web analytics (Part III); the approaches taken by various countries to the privacy and technology issues involved, including the United States (especially for government websites), the European Union, and Germany (Part IV).
Finally, we conclude with our predictions for the future of Google Analytics from July 2010 onward (Part V), stating that Google Analytics will continue to raise privacy concerns, especially within Europe, considering those online users do not generally take additional steps to make their online behavior anonymous. In the United States, the potential for cookies that cannot be erased by users will raise the ire of users, government regulators, and legislators and has the potential for creating regulations that will finally directly limit the use of analytics programs, such as Google Analytics.
Keywords: web analytics, Google analytics, digital analytics, government information, international, Germany, European Union
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