Google has reached agreement with privacy officials in the German state of Hamburg that will allow website owners to continue using Google Analytics. The accord comes months after Hamburg officials threatened to fine German businesses that used Google Analytics.
As part of the agreement, Google has made its analytics opt-out browser plugin available to Safari and Opera users — it was previously available for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. Google will also recognize an IP masking tool that prevents Analytics from storing the complete IP addresses of Internet users in Europe. Google has also updated its Terms Of Service for Google Analytics to reflect the new agreement.
In a German language blog post, Google also asks website owners to use their privacy policies to tell site visitors that the site uses Google Analytics, and to inform them about the browser add-on.
In that blog post, Google says it disagrees with Hamburg officials who say that Google Analytics violates data protection laws.
Johannes Caspar, data protection commissioner in Hamburg, has been quoted saying, “We are at the end of a long but constructive discussion process. I explicitly welcome that Google has said it will implement the changes Europe-wide.”
Caspar first raised concerns about Google Analytics and privacy in 2009.
(Thx to State of Search for the tip.)