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Google Analytics May Be Illegal In Germany

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the schmafe-harbor dept.

Google 241

sopssa sends in a TechCrunch story that begins "Several federal and regional government officials in Germany are trying to put a ban on Google Analytics, the search giant's free software product that allows website owners and publishers to get detailed statistics about the number, whereabouts, and search behavior of their visitors (and much more)." Here's Google's translation of the article from Zeit Online (original in German). A German lawyer cited there says that penalties for websites that uses Google Analytics could amount to €50,000 (about $75,000). Reader sopssa adds, "The amount of data Google collects from everywhere on the Internet is indeed huge, and website owners should be using a local open source alternative to keep visitor data private."

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Schadenfreude (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30220498)

Everything is illegal in Germany.

Re:Schadenfreude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30220578)

You're not as far off the mark as you think.

Re:Schadenfreude (2, Funny)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221770)

You're not as far off the deutchmark as you think.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Schadenfreude (1)

cdhgee (620445) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221976)

You're not as far off the EURO as you think.

There, fixed that for you.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Schadenfreude (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222306)

You're not as far off the 51 Euro Cents as you think.

There, fixed that for you.

There, fixed that for you.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Schadenfreude (4, Funny)

mrwolf007 (1116997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220580)

Everything is illegal in Germany.

Bullshit. Only if its usefull for anything.
Otherwise the chances of it being illegal are merely high.

Re:Schadenfreude (0, Offtopic)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220588)

Except German scheisse videos. Cartman taught me that much.

Re:Schadenfreude (2, Funny)

atheistmonk (1268392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220674)

How else do you think Inspector Rex would stay on the job?

Re:Schadenfreude (1)

atheistmonk (1268392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220686)

Wait.. Rex is Austrian.. Like Hitler.

Re:Schadenfreude (3, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222090)

Sssh. You're not supposed to mention 'H'. And whatever you do, don't talk about the war.

Re:Schadenfreude (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222448)

What war?

Re:Schadenfreude (4, Insightful)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220858)

Except saying bad words on TV or being naked in public :)

Re:Schadenfreude (0)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221566)

Well it's their own fault. Why doesn't Germany, I don't know, stop electing these people?

Re:Schadenfreude (2, Interesting)

beefnog (718146) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222096)

I'm actually an American on vacation in Frankfurt at this very moment, and it is, indeed, a much more regulated environment. Seeing three guys walking through the aiport, one of them holding an automatic weapon at the ready, and getting the feeling that they're just waiting for a reason to jump you is very sobering. As far as everything being against the law, after talking candidly with some of my friends that live in Germany that is a far less humorous statement than it should be.

Re:Schadenfreude (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30222352)

I'm actually an American on vacation in Frankfurt at this very moment, and it is, indeed, a much more regulated environment. Seeing three guys walking through the aiport, one of them holding an automatic weapon at the ready, and getting the feeling that they're just waiting for a reason to jump you is very sobering. As far as everything being against the law, after talking candidly with some of my friends that live in Germany that is a far less humorous statement than it should be.

I think you're just an idiot. If you find any police presence in Germany (Europe) more threatening than *anything* in the US, you're out of your mind. Period! End of discussion! I don't even want to think about the difference in the probability of having a gun pointed at you (police or criminals). I think you cite the *only* example where indeed there is more (open) presence of guns in Europe than in the US. But then go back and check how many people got killed innocently in airports that way in Europe over the past decades, probably zero or close to that.

Ridiculous. (4, Insightful)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220514)

If you come to my website then I, or my designated party, have the right to record the fact that you came to my website. If you don't like it then don't use the web. Is it also against the law to record what customers come in the door of your brick and mortar store in Germany?

Re:Ridiculous. (4, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220604)

There are however data protection laws in place and especially about storing personal information in other countries. From the article:

This isn’t the first time German privacy protection officials have voiced their concerns about the Google Analytics service, as it had earlier criticized the search giant over keeping everyone ‘in the dark’ about which information they’re collecting exactly and how much identifiable data is sent to and stored on servers located on U.S. soil. German laws prohibit such data to leave the country, they claim.

If you or your website is giving such personal info to other party and it's stored elsewhere, you will be just as liable. And let's be honest, Google is able to profile people really good. German authorities are especially worried about political parties and pharmaceutical companies websites.

Re:Ridiculous. (4, Interesting)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220644)

No. What people end up accepting in the States is their business, but the EU has a number of data protection principles [wikipedia.org] (see section 2.2). Veiled third party advertising bugs don't follow those principles.

Re:Ridiculous. (2, Informative)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221406)

Analytics isn't really an advertising tool. It just keeps statistics on things obvious to the web server when you connect to it. IP address, location, referring page, browser, etc. It's like knowing that a middle-aged white male in a red sweatshirt came in the door.

Not local (5, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221652)

It just keeps statistics on things obvious to the web server when you connect to it. IP address, location, referring page, browser, etc.

But these statistics aren't run local on the webserver itself. They are transmitted to Google.

It's like knowing that a middle-aged white male in a red sweatshirt came in the door.

No.
It's like *telling Big Brother* that a middle-aged white male in a red sweatshirt came in the door of your house.
And asking Big Brother to do some statistics about who comes to your house for you.
Sure from the website's owner point of view, the result is the same : he/she got on who visits the site.
BUT from the *user* point of view it is different : The user accepted the fact that, by entering your house, you'll know the users' age/sex/clothes colour. BUT the user never accepted in the first place that you also send these informations to big brother.

The EU regulate clearly what you can transmit to 3rd party.
Here the problem is not that website are doing *stastistics* (they can the information is trivial).
The problem is that, in order to compute said stats, the websites *forwards* the data to google : a 3rd party which has nothing to do in the first palce.

The solution : Use adblock and/or noscript.

Re:Not local (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221790)

So then, how can the EU legislate:
A. An American site doing this with euro user data?
B. A site keeping it's logs on its own and then, at a later date, transmitting them to Google?
Who owns the logs?

Re:Not local (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222024)

So then, how can the EU legislate:
A. An American site doing this with euro user data?

It can't, of course.

B. A site keeping it's logs on its own and then, at a later date, transmitting them to Google?

If the site is in the EU, very simple: Just pass a law.

Who owns the logs?

First of all, simply keeping the log longer than necessary already is illegal in the EU. Second, just because you own something doesn't mean you are free to do anything you want with it. For example, you may own a very fast car, but you'll still get a ticket for speeding.

Re:Not local (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222086)

This will, of course, lead to an uptick in US-based webhosting for German businesses. Great news, really. Unless Germany wants to create its own Great Firewall.

Re:Not local (3, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222180)

If it's a German business, it's bound by German law. Having the webhosting in the U.S. won't help in that case.

Re:Not local (1)

KlaasVaak (1613053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222272)

Not only will it not help it would put them in way bigger trouble. EU directive ..? says that even though companies are allowed to let 3rd parties handle their customer data it's is not allowed for that data to leave the EU economic region(EU+ Norway, Switzerland etc) Google Analitics might be a little illegal, hosting all your stuff in a non-European country is definitely very illegal.

Re:Not local (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30222408)

I wouldn't care if Google only knew about the middle-aged white male. But actually, it is quite worse.

You tell Big Brother to record that the same middle-aged white male in a red sweatshirt that just came out of the store is now reading and sending email on a GMail account that is registered to a certain John Smith from Chicago, who likes reading RSS and Atom feeds about nerdy news that matter as well as naughty news from the Online Sex Toy store he regularly order from (that uses Google Analytics) and who also has an AdSense account registered with his financial data for getting paid.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

george14215 (929657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221450)

No. What people end up accepting in the States is their business, but the EU has a number of data protection principles [wikipedia.org] (see section 2.2). Veiled third party advertising bugs don't follow those principles.

Agreed. I would say that similar concerns exist for allowing third party companies in other countries do x-ray analysis or tax returns on behalf of one's citizens. There may be business ramifications for breach of privacy but very little civil/criminal ramifications.

Re:Ridiculous. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30220750)

It's not really about you recording the fact that someone came to your website. The article says that there are worries that Google could further use the data, and eg connect it with the data they might have from Google Mail or other sites using Google Analytics, thus generating profiles about habits and preferences etc. If you use Google Mail, it is your own decision, but you might not be aware if you visit a site using Google Analytics and that not only the site owner records the fact that you were there, but Google knows, too (including all other Google Analytics sites you were visiting).

According to the article, nothing is decided. There is also some dispute whether the above scenario is possible under Google's own usage terms. Currently, it's a discussion among the data protection officials from the various German states. So, currently, they are basically doing their job.

Re:Ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221294)

you would think the Germans would be all over this based on past history.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222246)

It's not really about you recording the fact that someone came to your website. The article says that there are worries that Google could further use the data, and eg connect it with the data they might have from Google Mail or other sites using Google Analytics, thus generating profiles about habits and preferences etc.

So collecting data is ok, but it's forbidden to run certain algorithms on the collected data? Something tells me this isn't a particularly sustainable arrangement.

Re:Ridiculous. (2, Funny)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220818)

You don't have that right if the laws don't give it to you. Don't like the laws, move elsewhere.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221352)

Businesses will.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221728)

But if we get rights from laws, who gives laws rights so the laws can give us rights?

Complete nonsense. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30220840)

Dear Sir or Madam,
this is acutally complete nonsense.
If you choose to publish, you have no right whatsoever to track who is reading your publication for what reason.

Re:Complete nonsense. (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222110)

Yes I DO HAVE THE RIGHT I'm paying the hosting, I'm the one designing and coding the scripts so everyone in my target can get served a useful website. I use GA so I can know the average screen size = so I can design a better layout. I know where are my visitors coming from in detail that helps me to track and prevent slashdotings, take a look in the beta feature "intelligence". I know whats the most visited content and how much time people reads a random page, so I can plan for better content for my visitors. I can set up a weekly email to my client with the statistics so I save a lot of time and get new ideas from my client to fine tune things or make new stuff, that means more cash for me.

I can't see anything on the GA site that can help me to profile someone say: "Oh is this Argentinian 23yo advertising student who is stealing my brief form scripts again" All I know it's "I had a spike in traffic from Argentina and the only visited page was the brief form" I really doubt Google hires some guy to parse every GA account because you need a meat and bone AI to make a profile from the GA data.

You're very paranoid, the only thing Google capitalize from GA is the integration with AdSense and maybe they hope that if we have more insight about our visitors we can make better sites, who drive more visits ergo more eyes on the ads.

OTOH I really appreciate the link to Piwick and I will give it a try, is not that GA is the only one in the business of analytics, they happen the be better one right now.

Also <b>it's just me or are we seeing a flood in news/spins that try to portray a "bad Google"?</b>

(stupid /code_ate_my_html_tags_bug it's stupid)

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220862)

What about cookies?

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221388)

So turn off cookies. I don't need them to track you.

Re:Ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221460)

Use Ghostery Firefox extension

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220894)

If you run that website in Germany, it is illegal for you to save customers' personal data longer than X days.

Re:Ridiculous. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221076)

If you run that website in Germany, it is illegal for you to save customers' personal data longer than X days.

Germany is using Roman numerals again?

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221300)

OK, s/X/$X/.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221420)

It's not personal information. It's anonymous stats.

Re:Ridiculous. (2, Insightful)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222060)

A "usage profile" for a user ID is also considered illegal if the user hasn't opted in or it is at least clear that the data is being collected. This is because those stats are not really anonymous. If they were, Google wouldn't be interested in them. It has been shown repeatedly that tracking back "anonymous" profiles to a RL user isn't hard if you have enough data.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221486)

What constitutes personal?

Also, does this apply to cookies? The data isnt actually stored on your server, but on the client machines...

Re:Ridiculous. (4, Informative)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220944)

Is it also against the law to record what customers come in the door of your brick and mortar store in Germany?

Depends. It is illegal to store their name, home address, passport number and blood type just because they wanted to shop at your place, yes.

And rightly so. You do business under the law of the land, so the law of the land tells you how you can do it. If you don't like it, you can shove off to some place in the middle of Africa where they don't have laws.

Re:Ridiculous.Christmas gifts, see here. (-1, Troll)

coolforsale124 (1685626) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221162)

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Re:Ridiculous. (4, Insightful)

darthwader (130012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221474)

It's not quite as cut-and-dry as you think.

It could very well be illegal to follow you around the store and record every product you looked at, and then follow you around the library and see every book you look at (and then examine the records to see what you have ever checked out), then followed you to the video store and measured exactly how much time you spent looking at each title (and also examine your rental history).

The Germans lived through both the Nazis and with the KGB. They have a good reason to be sensitive about protecting people's privacy.

Re:Ridiculous.Christmas gift is here... (-1, Troll)

fytuyoiulhretryiyter (1685670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221754)

http://www.coolforsale.com/ [coolforsale.com] Dear ladies and gentlemen Hello, In order to meet Christmas, Site launched Christmas spree, welcome new and old customers come to participate in the there are unexpected surprises, look forward to your arrival. Only this site have this treatmentOur goal is "Best quality, Best reputation , Best services". Your satisfaction is our main pursue. You can find the best products from us, meeting your different needs. Ladies and Gentlemen weicome to my coolforsale.com.Here,there are the most fashion products . Pass by but don't miss it.Select your favorite clothing! Welcome to come next time ! Thank you! http://www.coolforsale.com/productlist.asp?id=s76 [coolforsale.com] (Tracksuit w) ugg boot,POLO hoody,Jacket, Air jordan(1-24)shoes $33 Nike shox(R4,NZ,OZ,TL1,TL2,TL3) $35 Handbags(Coach lv fendi d&g) $35 Tshirts (Polo ,ed hardy,lacoste) $16 free shipping Thanks!!! Advance wish you a merry Christmas.

Blocked with NoScript (2, Informative)

misiu_mp (1029006) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220522)

I found about google analytics when I started using the NoScript plugin. Its used almost everywhere!

Re:Blocked with NoScript (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220784)

Me too. I have it auto-blocked. I don't need my visits being amalgamated by the Googbots thank you very much.

Re:Blocked with NoScript (5, Informative)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220974)

Actually, NoScript only does part of the job, google-analytics.com, coremetrics.com, any many other ad/tracking entities sneak around NoScript on many sites, including /.

Install the RequestPolicy add-on and browse /. again, you will see what I mean.

Re:Blocked with NoScript (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221016)

Actually, NoScript only does part of the job, google-analytics.com, coremetrics.com, any many other ad/tracking entities sneak around NoScript on many sites, including /.

Fortunately, they don't sneak around a HOSTS file very easily. (I suppose they could replace themselves with their own IP addresses, but that defeats the purpose of DNS, and would render them visually indistinguishable from malware. Which, in a sense, they are...)

Re:Blocked with NoScript (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221760)

Fortunately, they don't sneak around a HOSTS file very easily.

Buy a new domain and IP address and obfuscate yourself. Boom, pwned the HOSTS file.

Re:Blocked with NoScript (1)

non-registered (639880) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221826)

Thanks, al0ha! I installed RequestPolicy and Slashdot is readable again: fast, sleek, non-graphical. I love it!

Re:Blocked with NoScript (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222216)

I now did so, but I got no google-analytics or similar. Only fsdn.com. I don't know if it's due to NoScript or Adblock Plus, though.

10 Years ago... (1, Offtopic)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220524)

... €50,000 (about $75,000)

10 Years ago it would have read:

€75,000 (about $50,000)

*sigh*

Re:10 Years ago... (1, Informative)

ZigiSamblak (745960) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220576)

The Euro was introduced in 2002. 10 years ago that would have been in Deutschmark.

Re:10 Years ago... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30220824)

The Euro was introduced in 2002. 10 years ago that would have been in Deutschmark.

The Euro was introduced January 1st, 1999. In 2002, the Euro cash was introduced, up til then, the old national coins and bills were used as "regional" denominations of the Euro. But they were no independent currencies anymore.

Re:10 Years ago... (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221534)

The Euro was introduced in 2002

Wish I could get mod points for posting blatently incorrect information.

Re:10 Years ago... (2, Informative)

misiu_mp (1029006) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220618)

FYI: In 2000 1 dollar was 1.083 euros (enl. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tables_of_historical_exchange_rates_to_the_USD [wikipedia.org] ). Why would it be 25000 eur more ten years ago? Anyway, 75000/1.083 is 69250.

Re:10 Years ago... (2, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220806)

But it's still disappointing. And I don't think the Dollar will ever get back to where it was.

Re:10 Years ago... (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221052)

Oh, bull.... I remember the opposite times (I am European), and back then I'd never though I'd even see parity. It just takes one big economic and/or political blunder of the EU to set back the ticker.

Re:10 Years ago... (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220810)

7,8,9, 10 ...years ago gets to be all the same after a while. No, I can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning, either.

What's the rational? (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220534)

Is the German government trying to downsize Google by charging premiums who use the service they offer? If this is the case, it isn't a bad idea. (I love Google as much as the next guy, but they really are everywhere, and I'm not sure how long Paul Buchheit's slogan will hold up)

Now only if we could charge the idiots who buy ARM's here in the states...

Open source? (3, Funny)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220562)

"Do, we didn't illegally disclose your data; we open-sourced it!"

Oh noes! They stored a cookie! (1, Informative)

chickenarise (1597941) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220594)

"The amount of data Google collects from everywhere on the Internet is indeed huge, and website owners should be using a local open source alternative to keep visitor data private." Classic FUD, all that google analytics does is store a simple cookie so that it can differentiate between page loads, unique visits, and return visits. The other data mining google does doesn't involve google analytics.

Re:Oh noes! They stored a cookie! (3, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220664)

And they are storing that cookie everywhere on the internet now a days. Google can build a pretty accurate profile about you (unless you've blocked it, but 'casual' people usually don't)

Have you actually used the Analytics service? It shows very detailed information about visitors, where they are coming from and what they do on the website. There's tons of statistics and other stuff available, and Google can track the individual people across the internet.

Re:Oh noes! They stored a cookie! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220736)

Google Analytics records how many times you have been to the site, for report purposes. Now multiply by the number of websites that have Analytics "installed" and it's pretty clear that Google can make a good profile of almost all your web accesses.

Re:Oh noes! They stored a cookie! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221786)

So how could you possibly tell whether I've returned to a site or visited it only once? Do you know of any way other than storing all sites I visit?

And who the hell modded you informative? You effectively say this is FUD, because they just store is every site I visit. FUD usually means that something is wrong or out of proportion.

What's one of the #1 blocked items in my browser? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220614)

Google Analytics

Just behind doubleclick.net

It never makes a noticeable difference to have both disabled so far.

Another reason to avoid Internet Explorer until it gets a no script equivalent (which it never will).

Re:What's one of the #1 blocked items in my browse (2, Interesting)

Enleth (947766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221086)

Well, it makes. For the website author who just wants to have the goddamned statistics presented in a convinient, easy-to-digest format to be able to focus on actual improvements to the website, and not on wrestling with half-arsed local statistics generators that use access logs, 1px images, session cookies and somesuch.

As a website admin, I'd gladly switch to a solution that does not raise such concerns as GA, but there is none of comparable quality and I'm not in position to make my own with an appropriate feature set. Piwik is somewhat close, but it doesn't support PostgreSQL, which is a show-stopper for me - installing a second RDBMS just for a single auxiliary application is out of question. Besides, it's still probably going to be blocked by NoScript and the likes.

So, what other options do I have?

Re:What's one of the #1 blocked items in my browse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221208)

So, what other options do I have?

Logs. In other words, don't rely on the visitors to keep your statistics for you.

Re:What's one of the #1 blocked items in my browse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221638)

Access logs do not give me the information that a piece of JavaScript does such as the amount of time spent on a website, the amount of clicks that went from one page to another, screen size (so I can optimise my website in the future towards the majority of my surfers), flash version, where they came from, have they been here before, page views per person (since even those behind a proxy are now going to be differentiated from).

Access Logs are NOT the end all be all when attempting to monetize a website and or find out what people like and don't like.

Re:What's one of the #1 blocked items in my browse (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221902)

And I want a clear view into the bathroom of that hot chick across the street.

Have you considered that your need for clean statistics does not outweight the peoples right for privacy?

Imagine someone steals your car because he couldn't get to work otherwise. Should it be your problem that he can't get to work?
Should it be my problem that you can't improve your website? When you invade my privacy as means to do so it is my problem.

Re:What's one of the #1 blocked items in my browse (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222238)

Another reason to avoid Internet Explorer until it gets a no script equivalent (which it never will)

Way back in the IE4 days, I used a mixture of the zone system (Trusted Sites for those few where I wanted Javascript) and the hosts file. These days, if you use multiple browsers then privoxy [privoxy.org] is the better solution because the one configuration will work in all the browsers (yes, including Internet Explorer).

Re:What's one of the #1 blocked items in my browse (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222372)

Another reason to avoid Internet Explorer until it gets a no script equivalent (which it never will).

http://www.ie7pro.com/ [ie7pro.com]

good (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30220636)

Google can fuck off. Why the hell doesn't AdBlock block Google Analytics by default?

Re:good (2, Informative)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220926)

Adblock Plus doesn't block anything by default. It does present you with a list of filter subscriptions. Just install EasyPrivacy [adblockplus.org] from the same folks who probably made the subscription you use now (EasyList).

Has Google ever betrayed our trust? (2, Interesting)

SheepFister (1638801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220786)

I don't understand people saying that Google knows too much about each of us. Maybe I haven't been paying close enough attention as of late, but has Google ever done wrong by their users? And besides, as an entirely uninteresting person, I don't really care if Google knows my surfing habits. I hear the same argument against the club cards at supermarkets, and the same response applies. I don't care if the supermarket "Man" knows that I buy excessive amounts of phallic vegetables and personal lubricant (unrelated).

Re:Has Google ever betrayed our trust? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30220922)

as an entirely uninteresting person

Um...SheepFister? Is that legal in Germany?

Though I second your disregard for club cards's privacy issues, because none of the info on the application is verified. After writing B.S. information on a few applications, I just started using my friend's club card (entering the phone number on the keypad), and everytime I check out they say "Thanks, mister Robertson* ", even though that's not me.

*names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Re:Has Google ever betrayed our trust? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30220988)

I don't understand people saying that Google knows too much about each of us. [...] has Google ever done wrong by their users? And besides [...] I don't really care if Google knows my surfing habits. I hear the same argument against the club cards at supermarkets, and the same response applies.

Thank you for not caring. This is not about google but the

Over here in the real world, there is quite a difference between an opt-in scheme and the default assumption that your visitors don't mind you keeping every bit of information you can. "Well, then they shouldn't visit me!" you say, ignoring the huge power differential between the average visitor (consumer) and website owner (vendor).

Re:Has Google ever betrayed our trust? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221628)

When you're talking about publicly traded corporations, it's not enough that their top management seems to be a nice, community-oriented group of guys. All it takes is a disappointing year or two and the shareholders start demanding changes... and that generally involves putting numbers-oriented SVP's in charge who are known for kicking butt and punching up the bottom line. Cherished company traditions, such as decency to employees, business partners, and community, have a tendency to fall by the wayside.

Re:Has Google ever betrayed our trust? (2, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222292)

but has Google ever done wrong by their users?

And would you ever know? Are you sure that the prices you find on line are the same ones I see? Some manufacturers of luxury goods might not even want "your kind" seen in public with their product (replace "your kind" with whatever socio-economic group you want). Maybe you can't even see their web pages in a search.

I don't really care if Google knows my surfing habits. I hear the same argument against the club cards at supermarkets, and the same response applies.

In addition to the loyalty club discount, I also get an additional percentage knocked off at the cash register. Plus, I get rebates. Because they like me. I'm a desirable customer. You, not so much.

Re:Has Google ever betrayed our trust? (1)

KlaasVaak (1613053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222398)

Google is already the most subpoenaed company in the US. It's the greatest christmas gift ever for the government and intelligence services, all the data centralized in one place you don't need to do some hard searching anymore just demand the data from google,

25% of all american home owners (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30220798)

25% of all american home owners are on the virgue of going under.

aren't you glad obama spent trillions on corporate welfare?

Re:25% of all american home owners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221038)

wtf who modded this funny and what the fuck does this have to do with the price of tea in china?

Oh, that will improve things (2, Insightful)

isomeme (177414) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221010)

Yes, I certainly want my personal data tracked and stored by 200 small-to-medium businesses that don't understand net security rather than one company with the knowledge and resources to do it well. I feel safer already!

Re:Oh, that will improve things (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222174)

Yea, on one hand, it would distribute rather than centralize the data. But on the other hand, the companies that the data would be distributed across can vary.

Hell froze over. (2, Funny)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30221014)

Government wants to ban a proprietary tool serving obtaining vast amounts of data about the net users by a big corporation, without the users' content. The government suggests an open-source alternative.

Slashdot crowd violently opposes.

brb checking if RMS applied for a job at Microsoft.

Re:Hell froze over. (2, Funny)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222394)

Said big corporation is Google. Google can't do wrong, you know?

Apply your stupid laws equally!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221372)

If google analytics is banned then most online advertising systems which essentially do the same thing should be banned too.

who doesn't block that, anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221456)

Is there any person left using the internet who does NOT block the google, doubleclick, etc trackers?

Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221762)

I hate that google analytics thing. For a lot of sites, the page won't display anything until it's done loading. I guess it gets a lot of traffic, because it's frequently unresponsive. So much so that I have to map it to 127.0.0.1 to get a lot of websites to load at reasonable speed (i.e. less than 2 minutes)

Way to go Germany.

Connecting the dots -- Murdoch behind this? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221810)

The "Open Source alternative" is Piwik
Piwik is sponsored by OpenX
OpenX is an ad serving company that competes with Adsense
Jon Miller is on the board of OpenX
Jon Miller is CEO of Digital Media at News Corp.

I didn't mean to create a conspiracy out of this, but it's amusing to see how any move against Google is now a move in favor of Rupert Murdoch.

At least the EU is on your side. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30221948)

Moves like this make it clear that there are very fundamental differences between the governments in Europe and the USA.

In the USA, the government exists to help corporations make money.

In Europe, governments exist to help people live enjoyable lives.

if they do that to google they (1)

jobst (955157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222054)

have to do this to a lot of other "keeping of data" if they want to "be fair", including advertising (e.g. tracking), logging (each webserver keeps logs of who has accessed what), cookies, preferences, facebook, linkedin, online games, google/yahoo/bing keeping websites ... are they for real?

Re:if they do that to google they (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222286)

Keeping server logs for an extended times is illegal. If they made serving ads from third-party servers illegal, I wouldn't object :-)
Cookies: It depends on what they are used for. Cookies which only go to the primary site and are not set without the user's consent are clearly OK. Tracking cookies aren't.
Preferences are usually not stored without the user explicitly requesting it. Therefore: Clearly OK.
Facebook: If I don't explicitly go to facebook, do they get any data on me?
linkedin: I don't know that.
Online games: It's certainly your own decision to play them. You don't play them without noticing.
google/yahoo/bing keeping websites: What do you mean with "keeping websites"?

Re:if they do that to google they (1)

jobst (955157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222432)

how long is "extended times" ;-)

as for stopping ads ... you might as well stop the internet ... this drives the place.

as for "keeping websites" i wasn't thinking clearly ... have you ever noticed how muck email is kept on google? ... how much detail shows up for a person? ...

If they do this how do "they" know where to draw the line where things are legal and illegal???

Drupal has a Piwik module (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222344)

Just checked and Drupal has a reasonably good Piwik module. Good news for me! I'll be switching a site I admin (120k users) to it in the next week. I already disallow google analytics because I've never enabled it via NoScript, but my visitors don't. When I got started, there wasn't really a good alternative to GA for what we were doing short of rolling our own.

So block it (1)

Exp315 (851386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30222396)

I use Ghostery (the Firefox add-on) that shows you what trackers are loading with the page and lets you block them individually. There are plenty of other options if you want to block tracking cookies.
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