Google announces updates in readiness for GDPR in an email to Analytics administrators

Apr 12th, 2018

At a quarter to twelve last night (11/04/18), I received an email which outlined a host of updates – to Google products and contracts – which will come in to effect starting 25th May 2018

What is GDPR?

GDPR, or ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ is an EU legislation that seeks to increase provisions for the privacy and data protection of all individuals. Its primary aim is to return a measure of control to EU citizens over their personal data and simplify the regulatory environment surrounding the subject of data protection for international businesses operating in the EU. It comes in to effect on the 25th May 2018. It is backed by the ability to impose fines of up to 20 million Euros or 4% of annual worldwide turnover – whichever is greatest.

Product updates

The first section of the email announced the introduction of ‘granular data retention controls’ which allows you to set a time limit on how long Analytics will retain data before automatically deleting it – this ranges from 14 months to 50 months with an option to turn off automatic expiry, as well as an option to automatically reset the clock with each new activity.

This is done in the property column of a view (in the ‘Admin’ section), by clicking ‘Tracking Info’, then ‘Data Retention’ and selecting the best options for your brand and your customers.

In addition, Google (‘before May 25’) will introduce a new ‘user deletion tool’. This new tool will allow you to delete all data associated with individual users from your Analytics properties.

Contract changes

The second main section deals with the ongoing (since August 2017) updates to contractual terms for Google’s ad products. The email affirms that Google operates as a processor of personal data and gives the following advice:

  • For Google Analytics clients based outside the EEA and all Analytics 360 customers, updated data processing terms are available for your review/acceptance in your accounts (Admin ➝ Account Settings).
  • For Google Analytics clients based in the EEA, updated data processing terms have already been included in your terms.
  • If you don’t contract with Google for your use of our measurement products, you should seek advice from the parties with whom you contract.

While this is unlikely to change anything considerably in the short term, the prominent Zuckerberg testimony before the US Congress (where he promised to do for America what Facebook is essentially being forced to do in the EU) and the ongoing restrictions Facebook is implementing (which, as mentioned here, has effected some social media agencies and automation platforms), when combined with this announcement, leave no doubt that both companies are taking privacy a little more seriously in the run up to the introduction of GDPR.

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